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NETAJI RESEARCH BUREAU 

AN INSTITUTE OF HISTORY, POLITICS AND INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS 
NETAJI BHAWAN • CALCUTTA 

A note on the air crash on 18 th August 1945 

Taipei has a very special place in the heart of Indians. One of the greatest freedom fighters of India 
Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose breathed his last at Taipei on August 18, 1945. He had raised the 
Liberation Army of India and established a provisional government of free India in Singapore and 
Rangoon during the second world war. After the surrender of Japan on 15th August 1945 Netaji left 
Singapore. On the afternoon of 17 lh August he along with his Deputy Chief of Staff Habib-ur- 
Rehman boarded a Type 97-2 (modified) bomber at Saigon. The plane was going to Tokyo via 
Dairen. On 18 lh August the plane arrived at Taipei early in the afternoon. After refueling and 
rechecking of engines the plane took off. But within minutes of take off the plane crashed at Taipei 
Airport, Netaji was seriously injured and taken to the South Gate (Nanmon) Hospital which is now 
known as Uni v e r sity Hospital, Taipei. But Netaji succumbed to his injuries and died later that night. 
His mortal remains were cremated at the Taipei Crematorium. At the time of his death Dr.Yoshimi 
who had treated him, Mr.Nakamura, the interpreter, Habib-ur-Rehman and some other Japanese 
officials were present. His last remains and ashes were kept at the Nishi Honganji Temple which still 
exists. There was a funeral ceremony in the Temple. 

Here is the report of the Enquiry commission set up by the Government of India in 1956. Netaji 
Research Bureau first approached Taiwan Government way back in 1965. Dr.Sisir Bose then Director 
of Netaji Research Bureau visited Taipei. He met Foreign Office Officials Mr.Sih Shou-heng and also 
Mr.Huang Chao-chin who had been the Chinese Consul General of Calcutta from 1939-1942 and 
knew the Bose family. The then Foreign Minister Mr.T.M. Wei was also apprised of the matter. 

The Taiwan Government had said on earlier occasions that since they took charge of the country 
much later, they do not know much about the incident though they had heard about it. Most of the 
information supplied to the commission was by the Japanese Government. There were newspaper 
reports recently in India that Taiwan has said that there was no such air crash. Is this true ? If so, on 
what basis was it said ? The comment created a lot of confusion. We would appreciate any 
information that can be supplied about the great tragedy that befell India’s great hero on the soil of 
Taiwan. Hope the cultural and economic ties between Taiwan and India will remain strong as ever. 


38/2, Lata Lajpat Rai Road, Calcutta - 700 020 
Telephone : 2475-6139/2455-9467, Fax : 91-33-24745070, Telegrams : Suvasbos, Calcutta 
e-mail : nrb@cal.vsnl.net, in • website : http://www.netaji.org 





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^ HESBARcf 


NETAJI 


INQUIRY COMMITTEE 
REPORT 


GOVERNMENT OF INDIA 
1956 


55 I & B (I) 


1 



24th April 
Rangoon 


- IB th .August 

Ctaihoku 

y (Ta ^g 


17th August 
Bangkok 


.Tourane 
\ 18th August 


: 1 71h August 
Saigon y 


16th August 
Singapore 


J — Inner Casket 


NETAJI’S LAST FLIGHT 
1945 



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Interior view of Rettkoji temphy showing how Nciaf's ashes arc kept 



Ashes — Outer Casket 




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AMNEXURE HI— Sketches ?nd plans of the aircraft and airfield at Taihoka 



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5. No* Name m< ~ 

* & 

Date ‘ \ 

Place 

3L Shri Dastgir 


2nd May 1956 

Tourane 

32. Mr. Hachiya 

, . 

3th May 1956 

Tokyo 

33. Shri Narain Das 

• ♦ 

8th May 1956 

Tokyo 

34. Capt. Arai 

■ * 

9th May and morning of 
10th May 1956. 

Tokyo 

35. General Isoda 


10th and 12th May 1956 

Tokyo 

36. Mr. J. Murti 


11th May 1956 

Tokyo 

37. Lt CoL -Nonogaki 

* * 

14th May 1956 

Tokyo 

38. Mr. Watanabe 

* . * * 

14th May 1956 . 

Tokyo 

39. Dr. Tsuruta 


15th May 1956 

Tokyo 

40. Mr. Sato Kbzo 


16th May 1956 

Tokyo 

4L MajGr # Kqjio 


16th May 1956 

Tokyo 

42, Mr. Suriya Miyata 


17th May 1956 

Tokyo 

43, Major Takahashi 

» * 

17th May 1956 

Tokyo 

44, CoL Yano 


18th May 1956 

Tokyo 

45. Major Kinoshita 

• • 

21st May 1956 

Tokyo 

46, Lt. Col. Takakura 

. . 

21st May 1956 ■ 

Tokyo 

47. Mr. T. Hayashida 

. . 

22nd May 1956 

Tokyo 

48. Dr. Yoshimi 

* ■ 

22nd and 23rd May 1956 

Tokyoj; 

49. Mr. Sen 


22nd and 23rd May 1956 

Tokyo 

50, Lt, CoL Shibuya 


24 th May* 1956 

Tokyo 

51, Capt • Yamamoto 


25th May 1956 

Tokyo 

52. Mr^, Yamamoto 


25th May 1956 

Tokyo 

53. Major Sakai 

t , 

• * 

28th May 1956 

Tokyo 

54. Mr. Kazo Nitshi 

* - 

29tb May 1956 

Tokyo 

55. Mr. Nakamura 

, # 

30tb May 1956 

Tokyo 

, 56. Rev, Moehizuki 


30tb May 1956 

Tokyo 

57, General Isayama 


31st May 1956 

Tokyo 

58. Mr. Ota Hide Mam 

- 

31st May 1956 

Tokyo’ 

59. Mr. Miyoshi 

. . 

1st June 1956 

Tokyo 

GO. Major Nagatomo 

. . 

1st June 1956 

Tokyo 

61. Mr. Kitazawa 

t # 

2nd June 1956 

Tokyo 

G2, Shri Asada 


2nd June 1956 

Tokyo 

63. Col. Figgess 

. , 

5th June 1956 f 

Tokyo 

.64, Dr. Dutt . 

* , 

9th June 1956 

Calcutta 

65. Shri Kundan Singh 

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19th June 1956 

New Delhi 

66. Shri Ramamurti 


21st June 1956 

New Delhi 

67. Shri A. M. N, Sastri 

* . 

27th June 1956 

New Delhi " 

[Col, T. 

Sakai:, 

W ritten state m en t ,. ] 



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ANNEXURE II 

(Photographs) 


Wreckage of Plane at Tathoku 



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69 

"Capy of Telegram’ dated 21st July 1956, from* Indembassy, Peking, addressed 

to Foreign, New Delhi 


Concerning alleged photograph of SUBHAS CHANDRA BOSK: We 
showed this to Foreign Office who have informed us that photograph is of 
LEE KE HUNG, Medical Superintendent of P.U*M*C. (Peking University 
Medical College.) 

List of Witnesses examined by the Committee 


S, Nq. Name 


Bate 

Place 

1, 

Shri Thevar 


4th April 1956 

New Delhi 

2. 

Shri Debnath Das ' 


5th April 1056 * 

New Delhi 

3. 

Capt. Gulzara Singh 


6th April 1956 

New Delhi 

4. 

Col. Habibur Rehman 


6th to 9th April 1956 » 

a New Delhi 

5. 

Col, Pritam Singh 


10th April 1956 

New Delhi 


Shri S. A, Ayer 


11th and 12th April, 
and morning of I4th 
April 1956. . . 

New Delhi 

* *'.'*** 

- 7. 

General Bhonsle 


16th April -1956 

New Delhi 

3. 

Suri A, K, Gupta 


16th April 1956 

New Delhi 

9. 

Shri Harm Shah 


16th and 17th April 
1956. 

New Delhi 

10. 

Cot Thakur Singh 


17th April 1956 

New Delhi 

»/. 

11. 

Shri Majumdar 


20th April 1956 ' - 

Calcutta 

12. 

Shri Kunizuka 


23rd April 1956 

Calcutta 

13. 

Lt. N. B. Das 


23rd April 1956 

Calcutta 

14, 

Shri H. K. Roy 


24th April 1956 

Calcutta 

15. 

Shri Kalipada Dey 


24th April 1956 

Calcutta 

16. 

Shri S. M,. Goswami 

• * 

' 24th April and 9th 
June 1956. 

Calcutta 

17, 

Shri J. C. Sinha 

. . 

25th April 1956 

, Calcutta 

18. 

Shri Deben Das 


25th April 1956 

Calcutta 

19. 

Shri H. Singha 

• . 

25th April 1956 

Calcutta 

20. 

Mr. Negishi 

» » 

25th April 1956 

Calcutta 

21. 

Col. H, L. Chopra 

/ 

26th April 1956 

Calcutta 

22. 

Shri D. N. Bose 


26th April and 8th 

June 1956, 

Calcutta 

23. 

Mrs. Pal Chowdhury, 

M.P. 

26th April 

Calcutta 

24. 

Shri A. Bose 

•* 

26th April and 8th 

June 1956. 

Calcutta 

25, 

Pandit Raghunath Sharma 

28th April 

Bangkok 

26. 

S. Ishar Singh 

* . 

28th April 1956 

Bangkok 

27. 

Shri U. C. Sharma 

• i 

28th April 1956 

Bangkok 

28. 

Shri A C. Das 


30th April 1956 

Bangkok 

29. 

Shri Ramneo Gosai 

» , 

1st May 1956 

Saigon 

’ 30. 

Shri A. M. Sahay 


1st and 3rd May 1956 

Saigon 


55 I & B (6) 



68 




connected with one^nother and no longer in the service of their Government, 
and Japan not being a totalitarian State — would not be expected to state what ■ 
was not true: > * t ^ * ' 

j Enquiries made subsequently by (1) British Intelligence teams operating 
from Delhi, (2) British and American Intelligence teams operating from 
Tokyo, and (3) non-official enquiry appear to corroborate the statements 
of these eye-witnesses and a few others who . appeared on the scene 
immediately after A ' * ’ . ■ - 

A person of the status of Netaji as Head of a State that was not ohly ; 
recognised by Japan, but was helped materially in every way by Japan, and 
vice versa, was not given the requisite facility and honour due to him from 
the very start, viz by providing a separate plane or seats for him and for all 
of his associates; treatment in a small hospital with a junior medical officer-- 
a Captain; manner- of cremation; disposal of ashes, etc., all without due * 
honour and respect, viz. f full military funeral, body placed on a gun carriage 
with full jnilitary honours, etc, - [ 

4. Cremation. Preliminaries by the two doctors and some^of the subordi- 
nate Hospital staff, ■ r 7 

Main evidence by (1) Habib, (2) Nakamura, and (3) Nagatoma — more 
or less corroborative, ^ ' 

Regarding Habib — oath of secrecy may be argued only. 

Regarding the other two — no interestedness, so their stories supporting 
Habib take away most of the charge against Habib for oath of 
\ ■ secrecy; in what way could they be ; obliged to Habib? 

No other suggestion that the body was disposed of in any other manner— , 
so body cremated, ■ ~ . ' > 

The evidence of the doctors will have, to be discussed very carefully, as 
it will surely be a matter of detailed criticism by eminent doctors through- 
out the world, 

5. Ashes, Ashes from the crematorium to Renkoji temple is a long way — 
first to Nishi Honganji temple, then to Tokyoite, 

There is nothing to show that there was tampering, but to prove that they 
were definitely those of Netaji, much more stringent measures required by 
law should have been taken and a different and very strict procedure, by 
way of seals, guards, .etc., should have been taken. ^ N 

In all probability^ the ashes could be- said to be those of Netaji. 

6. Treasure. Comipents should be minimum. 

Evidence recorded by us should be placed in a guarded manner. 

We- may state that out of the quantity carried by Netaji, a portion 
eventually was deposited in the National Archives. 

We should state that this maj^ be the subject-matter of a separate 
- Enquiry and this Enquiry should start from the complete assets, in cash and 
kind, and liabilities of the Azad Hind Government. 

7. Sihri statements and statements of 57m Gostoami. Their* state- 

ments should be discussed while dealing with Netaji's death or otherwise 
and a little more in detail separately later on. 

Draft by: SkH S , N, Maitra . 

Draff: 10-7-1956 ■ ■■ | 

Discussion t correction and finalisation: 13-7-1956, 

Submission to -Government of India: 16-7-1956. 

1 (Sd,) S. C. BOSE 

2 - 7-56 

S, N. MAITRA 

2-7-56. 

• * ' SHAH NAWAZ KHAN 

2-7-56. 



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ppon Government would like to study separately as to the possibility 
_ of/£6ur Excellency’s making political move toward India, through the 

Chungking Regime. . 

3. Nippon Government desires that Your Excellency would en eavour in 
bringing our active combined operations to a successful issue in spi e o 
present difficulty of war. situations through good understanding of Nippon s 
intention! . , . \ / - • 

Statement of Colonel Habibur Rehman Khan, Indian National Army 
Regarding the' Air Crash at Taihoku, Formosa - 

At 10-30 hrs. on 16-8-1945 Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose accompanied by 
a Jew Government and Army Officers, I being one of the party, left Singa- 
pore for Bangkok by a Japanese bomber plane., We reached Bangkok at 

15-30 hrs. ( ' 1 j _ . • 

At 07-30 hrs. on 17-8-1945, two bomber planes left for Saigon. On the 

Indian side, th4 following comprised the party: 

. * r Netaji Subhas. Chandra Bose, 

Sri Ayer, 1 - 

Col. Habibur Rehman Khan, 

Col. Guizara Singh, 

Sri Debnath Das, 

Lt Col. Pritam Singh, ' . • 

Major A. Hasan. 

, Lt. Gen. Isoda, Chief of the Hikari , Kikan, and H.E. Hachiya, Japanese 
Minister t* the Provisional Government of Azad Hind, travelled by the other 

P Saigon was reached at about 10-45 hrs. and' negotiations with the Southern 

Regions Command were started. / 

At about 15-45 hrs. Lt. Gen. Isoda, H.E. Hachiya and Col. Tada, btait 
Officer of H.Q. Southern- Region, informed Netaji that a maximum of two 
seats were available in a- bomber plane leaving Saigon at 17-00 hrs. the same 
day. It was decided to avail of the seats and I was to accompany Netaji. - 
The plane left Saigon Aerodrome at 17-15 hrs. Sir senior- Japanese Officers, 
including Lt. Gen. Shidei, Chief of Staff of the Kwangtung Army, also were 
the passengers on the same plane. We spent the night at Tourane in French 
Indo- China where we reached at M-45 hrs. 

At 07-00 hrs. on 18-8-1945, w e started from Tourane and reached Taihoku, 
in Formosa, at 14-00 hrs.- Here we halted for about 35 minutes. At 14-35 
hrs. the plane took off. It had not yet gained much height and was within the 
outskirts of the airfield when a loud report like that of an explosion was 
heard from the front. In actual fact, one of the propellers of the aeroplane 
had broken. Immediately the plane crashed on the ground and it caught fire 
both in the front and in the rear. 

At the time of the accident Netaji’s position in the aeroplane, was as 

follows: . , _ , . . . . 

Immediately behind the pilot was seated one Japanese officer and behind 

him on the. left side was Netaji. On his immediate right was the petrol tank. 

1 was behind Netaji. 

Netaji got out of the plane from the left side from the front. I followed 
him. We had to pass through the fire in doing so. As soon as I got out, I 
saw that Netaji’s clothes were on fire, from head to foot. I rushed to help 
him to remove the clothes. By the time his clothes were removed he had 
sustained severe burns on his body in addition to serious head injuries 
received during the crash. In my opinion, petrol had dropped on his clothes 
from the adjacent tank during the crash. Within 15 minutes we were rushed 




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to the nearest Nippon Army Hospital. It was about 15-00 hrs. at the time. I 
also received serious head and body injuries in addition to burns on the face 
and the body. 

Netaji was given immediate medical attention but his condition was very 
serious. Nippon medical authorities did all they could in his treatment but 
he unfortunately expired at 21-00 hrs. (T.T.) the same day. Prior to his 
death he was in his senses and was qufte calm. Whenever he talked to me, 
it was regarding India’s Independence. Prior to his death he told me that 
his end was near and asked me . to convey a message from him to our 
countrymen to the following effect: 

“I have fought to the last for India’s Independence and now am giving 
my life in the same attempt. Countrymen! Continue the Independence fight. 
Before long India will be free. Long Live Azad Hind.” 

Lt. Gen. Shidei and two other Japanese Officers had died instantaneously 
after the crash and all others were seriously injured. 

I requested the Army authorities to arrange for the early .transportation 
of the body either to Singapore or Tokyo, preferably to Singapore. They 
promised all help, r was told that arrangements for a box for the body and 
for the aeroplane were being made and that they had informed Saigon and 
Tokyo regarding the accident. 

On 21-8-1945 a senior Japanese Staff Officer informed me in the hospital 
that the length of the box did not allow the box being put into the plane. 
He suggested* that the body be cremated in Taihoku. Seeing no other alter- 
native, I agreed to the .suggestion and the body was cremated on 22 - 8-1945 at 
Taihoku under .the arrangement of the Army authorities' The ashes were 
collected on 23-8-1945. 

I have requested the Army authorities to arrange for the removal of the 
ashes to Tokyo where they can be kept in a safe place and from where at a 
later date they will be removed to India. 

Above is the true account of the unfortunater tragedy and I have request- 
ed the authorities to keep it with the ashes so that one day India will know the 
truth regarding the death of its outstanding and heroic Leader. 

[Note.— Photographs of the body in the box, myself seated beside were 
also taken.] 

Taihoku, Taiwan; (Sd.) HABIBUR REHMAN KHAN, Colonel. 

The 24 th August, 1945. 

Principal Points agreed to for Draft Report, dated 30th June 1956 


}• rt was ' Netaji’s idea to continue the struggle for the liberation of India. 
This was thought of by Netaji some time before Germany and Japan 
surrendered and Netaji had at that time told a selected few that they would 
sooner or later lose the war. Netaji also discussed about this point with 
his Cabinet members. g 

Since October 1944, when Netaji visited Tokyo, he earned out these 
intentions of his and attempted to contact the Russian Ambassador, and 
finally decided to go to Manchuria with that purpose in view. 

2. Whether the plane crash did take place. The plane carrying Netaji 
did crash. There is no other evidence to the contrary; the evidence should 
be considered carefully and in details, 

3. Whether Netaji\met his death as a result of this accident. The witnes- 
ses support this story. There is no reason why they should be disbelieved. 
After a lapse of about 10 years, these witnesses who belong to different 
walks of life and to different nationalities — Habib, an Indian and subse- 
quently a Pakistani, and the others, ,wbo are Japanese, who are mostly un- 


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fcaimusho’s Report regarding Enquiry into trip Lrasn 
, * Thb Gaimusho, 


■'far 


June &th 3 1956. 


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Dear Mr. Dar, * * ] | . , - *' ' \ ^ 

In compliance with the request, of the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose 
Enquiry Commission, made at the Third, Regular Meeting on May 26, 

I wish to state in reply as follows: > V v * " . 

(1) Official Enquiry Commission on the - Accident of the Plane 

^ ' wherein Netaji was emplaned . 1 K 

As a result of investigation made at the t Operation Section, 
Repatriation Relief Bureau, Ministry of Health and Welfare, k a 
been revealed that no official enquiry commission to deter mine 
causes of the accident in question was held so far. 

( 2 ) * 


* 

* 


* 

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/ 


I should appreciate it very much if you 'would be good enough to rans 
mit the above reply to the said Commission. 

Sincerely yours, 

*• . ■ - • HISAJI HATTORI, 

Chief o! 4th Section, Asian Affairs BurM" 


I 


'Mr. A. K. Dar, 

First Secretary, 
Embassy of India. 


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Note on local Inspection of Renkoji Temple, Tokyo 


On the 30th May after concluding the evidence of Rev. Mochizuki, the 
head priest of the Renkoji temple, the members of the Committee visi l 
the Renkoji temple accompanied by Rev. Mochizuki and five lay mem icrs 
« of the Temple Committee, The Renkoji temple is situated in Sugmamr u 
quarter of Tokyo, about 6 miles from the centre of the town where e 
Indian Embassy is situated. The temple is of a moderate size, bui ° 
timber in the usual style of Japanese Buddhist temples. Around it is a 
small Japanese garden. The temple, although not very large, is well kep . 
The ashes are kept in the main shrine. Just behind the altar is a lajSe 
glass case. In this case are kept various venerated objects such as gilded 
images of Rodfrisattuas. On the left hand side of the glass case is a small 
wooden casket in the shape of a pagoda about 2 ft. high. In front of it is 
a small portrait of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, A larger photograph of 
Netaji is kept outside in the left hand corner of the glass case. Incense was 
burning before it. Rev, Mochizuki took out from the pagoda-shapec: 
casket a rectangular-shaped wooden box painted red. On opening it was 
revealed a small 1 container about 8" cube covered with some kind of white 
cloth. On it was written in large English letters in black ink Netaji 
Subhas Chandra Bose". The contents of the smaller container were not 
examined. As he was . handling these objects. Rev, Mochizuki was intoning 
some sacred mantra. One by one, he put back the container into their 
original positions, and securely locked with a key the door of the glass 
case. Before entering the shrine, the Committee was entertained to tea 
in the Japanese style by the priest and members of the Temple Committee. 

In all our Committee spent about half an hour at the temple. As in the 
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Case of most Japanese temples, the temple was very clean both fflfae and 
! de ‘ The Committee was satisfied that Rev. Mochizuki takes go^care 
of the ashes, and they are being kept properly within the limited mean^ of 
the authorities of the Renkoji temple, * / 1 

Shri Debnath Das, 
171/3, Rash Behari Avenue, 
Y ’ ' * Calcutta-19, 

, - x ., The I3th June , 1056. 


To 


The Chairman, ~ 

■> Netaji Enquiry Commission, 

Government of India, 

new delhl ■ ■ ' ^ 

Sir, C ' 

Enclosed herewith you will kindly find some papers in connection with 
steps that Netaji adopted to continue India’s struggle for freedom. I could 
not submit these papers when I appeared to give evidence since fhey were 
ept at some of my friend’s house and could not be had in time. 

1- This is the English translation of the message received by Netaji from 
okyo through the Southern Command in reply to Netaji *s enquiry on the 
attitude of the Japanese Government to extend facilities to proceed to 
Russia with some of his associates should he (Netaji) so desired in the 
event of Japan’s collapse. The English version is, no doubt, rendered by 
some Japanese officer as was usual and was submitted along with the 
original letter that was in Japanese. This was delivered to Netaji by the 
second week of June 1945. (The original English typed copy of this 
message submitted by the Hikari Kikan is in my possession, enclosed one 
being the true copy.) 

2 & 3. * * * • • , 

JaiHind. 

DEB NATH_DA S. 

Copy of Tokyo Telegram to Southern Command Regarding Netaji's 
* Opinion for their Consideration 


1. The opinion of the Nippon Government with ragard to Your 
Excellency’s plan of approaching the Soviet is as follows: 

(a) Not only the assistance ^ by . Nippon Government to Your 

Excellency who are firmly determined to co-operate to the last 
with Nippon in order to attain thK^object of Indian 
Independence remains wholly unchanged but it also desires to 
still further strengthen the spiritual tie. 

(b) Nippon Government pays a deep respect with its whole heart to 

Your Excellency’s co-operation with Nippon on the moral 
strength to the utmost in order to attain Indian Independence, 

, _ convinced of Nippon’s certain victory and without resorting 

in the least to the opportunism of following in the wake of the 
powerful in spite of the present unfavourable world situation to 
Nippon. It may be added that the reason why the above (a) 
item which is apparently needless to mention has been repeated 
here is that the ‘Government more than ever earnestly hopes 
that Your Excellency will push on fighting for the liberation 
of India with firm determination to display the spirit of live 
or die together by India and Nippon. 

(c) Nippon Government deems it almost without hope of success to 
get directly in touch, with the Soviet Government on behalf of 
Your Excellency and it has no intention of doing so. 


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annexure I 

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„ 1: General ShidePs Service Record* ^ 

2* Gaimusho's Report that there was no enquiry into the crash. 

3. Committee’s report on Renkoji temple* *«" 

4. .Copy of telegram from’ the Japanese Government , to W eta ]i 
Subhas Chandra Bose received from Shri Debnath Das* 

5* Statement of Col Habibur Rehman Khan, regarding the air crash 
at Taihoku, Formosa, dated 24th August 1945* . 

6* Photostat copy of list of treasure, signed by Col Habibur Rehman* 
7. Photostat copy of list of treasure, signed by Mr* S* A* Ayer. 

.8, Points of agreement on writing the Report* 

9. Copy of Telegram about “Mongolian Delegate”. 

10. List of witnesses. 

General Shidei’s Service Record 

The Gaimusho, 
June 4 th, 1956. 

Dear Mr* Dar, ~ 

In compliance with the request of the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose 
Enquiry Commission, made at the Third Regular Meeting on May 26 195GJ 
I wish to state as follows: 


(1) 


* 


* 

* 






(2) Military Record on the death of the late Lt Gen* T. Shidei 


Two copies of the records in question, secured from the Opera- 
tion ^Branch, Repatriation Relief Bureau, Ministry of Health and 
Welfare, is attached hereto as enclosures respectively. 

’ \ 

Mentioned abone be transmitted to the Commission* 

* \ 

\ 

I should appreciate it very much if you would be good enough to trans- 
mit the above reply to the said Commission. 

/ Sincerely yours, 
HISAJI HATTORI, 

‘ Chief of 4th Section, Asian Affairs Bureau, 

GAIMUSHO, 

Mr* A. K* Dar, 

First Secretary, - 

Embassy of India* 


62 


63 


A 


‘7 , r JL 

63 V' . . ■ 

% ■ V 

r- , 

’ ■ * : 

ftYU-SEN-MAN No. 483. 

(Translation) 

- * , 

9 

t 

To ^ 

August 4th, 1947 


President of Demobilization Agency* * , 

From 

* *■ * - 

Chief, Korean & Manchurian Affairs Section, First Demobilization 
, Bureau, Demobilization Agency. 

' — * « * 
[Subject.— Application for Promotion of War-Dead .] 

■" 1 ■ x. ■ 

Whereas the person mentioned below comes under Paragraph 5, Article 
6 of ICHIFUKU (First Demobilization Bureau) No. 744 of 1946, the 
application for his promotion is submitted herewith for your consideration.- 


Date of Death 

August 1 8, 1945 , 

Cause of Death 

Death by war 

^ ace of Death 

Taihoku Airfield 

Position 

Attached to Military Headquarters in Manchuria 

Military Rank 

Lieut* General . / . 

Name 

Tsunamasa SHIDEI 

Date of birth 

January 27, 1895 , y 

Permanent Domicile 

No, 24, Oku-onoe-cho, Yamashma-zushi, Higashiya 
ma-ku, Kyoto city* 


Chief, Korean and Manchurian Affairs Section, 

First Demobilization Bureau, 
Demobilization Agency. 

(Official Seal.) 

N.B. — The promotion applied for was not approved. 

Military Career of Lieut. General Shidei s 


December 25, 1915 . 

August 1, 1940 

October 27, 1943 

Way 23, 1945 .. .» 

* Appointed Sub-Lieutenant of Cavalry, 

* Appointed Major General. 

j Appointed Lieut* General* 

Appointed the Chief of Stajff of Japanese 
Corps in Burma* 

August 18, 1945 

Died by war in Formosa* 


Examined and authenticated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs 

(Seal) 


June 4, 1956 

(Sd.) YASUTERU, ASAHINA, 
Secretary, 

Ministry of External Affairs. 
(Archives Section). 


60 


Col. Rehbaan says that- the box 1 appeared to him to have- 
been tampered with, much lighter in weight, an PC + e d 

half full. So it is far from dear as to what was 
from Taihoku Airfield, whether- and ^when e _ 

was changed, whether there was any subtrac ion, 
took delivery of it in Tokyo and when. From the evi e ^ 
able to us, it is not possible to come to any definite cone us 
the treasure. If it is considered desirable to go more c os ^ 
the matter, it may be necessary to institute a separate _ ’ 

whose scope might well include not only the treasure a _ 

carried by Netaji on his last journey and its recovery, u _ 

examination of the entire assets and liabilities, in. cash an ’ 

of the Provisional Government of Azad Hind. It is, however, no 
certain, how far such an enquiry would be profitable after t is apse 
of time, especially when such records, as they were, mus. ave 
been largely destroyed 






* ■ 






; ' 


CHAPTER VH % 


_ . * ' RECOMMENDATION , ; ' - . 

The Committee has come to the ' conclusion that Netaji’ Subhas 
Chandra Bose met his death in an air crash, and that the ashes now 
at Renkoji temple, Tokyo, are his ashes. Rev. Mochizuki and the 
trustees of the Renkoji temple have already kept the ashes for a 
number of years. Their services deserve to be recognised. If the 
ashes are taken to .be genuine, Renkoji temple cannot obviously be 
their final resting place. Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose died ten 
years ago. It is time that his ashes were brought to India with due 
honour, and a memorial erected over them at a suitable place. This 
we recommend for the serious consideration of the Government of 
India. It may be mentioned in this connection that influential 
circles in Japan are considering putting up a memorial to Netaji in 
that country. If Netaji’s mortal remains are honoured, and his 
ideals kept alive, then one could truly ask “Where is death’s sting 
where, grave thy victory?” 

' (Sd.) SHAH NAWAZ KHAN 

t 

y 

S. N. MAITRA 


\ 



55 I &B { 5 ) 



i.j: 




58 - 

Col. Habibur Rehman were occupying. There ere major discrepan- 
■cies as to the date, and who received the «hox. While Mr. -vama- 
murti says ‘that Col. Habibur Rehman satisfied Himself 'that the box 
was indeed the same box that had been packed before im a , 
Taihoku, Col. Habibur Rehman says that the seals of the box were 
broken;' it appeared to have been tampered with, was muc ig or 
and only half full. The contents were found to be ornaments of 
gold and precious ' stones, all charred, mixed and fused with 
metals and small bits from the wreckage. They were roughly sepa- 
rated into three lots, according to whether they contained more 
gold or base metal. Afterwards they were re-packed into a box 
and nailed. The weight of the valuables was found to be 11 kilo- 
grams. This was noted,' and a rough list was made and signed by 
Col. Habibur Rehman, a photostat copy of which is enclosed 
{Annexure X). Col Rehman left the valuables in the charge of Mr. 
Ramamurti to be handed over to any authority which, arose in India 
in succession to Netaji’s Movement. At the same time, Mr. Ayer 
left 300 grams of gold and 20,000 yens in cash with Mr. Ramamurti 
with similar direction. They did this in order to avoid the va ua e 
properties from being confiscated by the Allies. 

7. Mr. Murti kept the valuables with him from 1945 to 1951. 
Mr. Murti did not keep the money in a Bank. When asked, he said 
he did this so that the Occupation authorities, who would kpow of 
the assets of Japanese Banks, might hot confiscate the valuab.es. 
He did not take any steps to contact ar.v Indian authorities during 
all these years. In fact, there is reason, to believe that he denied 
having the treasure with him. He made no attempt to contact even 
the Indian Mission in Tokyo. He says that he was in correspondence 
with Mr. Ayer and the latter had advised him not to take any action 
till the connected matter of Netaji’s ashes was satisfactorily solved. 
!Mr. Ayer came to Japan in 1951, and it was only then that Mr. 
Ramamurti acknowledged that the treasure was with him., and 
expressed willingness to hand over the same to the Indian Mission 
in Tokyo. He admitted that he had partly financed Mr. Ayers trip 
to Japan, On his return to India, Mr. Ayer met the Prime Minister, 
and suggested that the treasure might be taken over by the India 
Government through the Indian Mission in Tokyo. The Prime 
Minister agreed to this and, on instruction from him, the treasure 
was taken over by the Indian Mission on the 24th September 1951. 
The First Secretary of the Mission, Mr. V. C. Trivedi, signed the 
receipt on the copy of the list made over by Col. Rehman to Mr. 
Ramamurti in 1945. On the same day, Mr. Ramamurti also .hande 
over 300 grams of gold and 20,000 yens which had been left with him 
by Mr. Ayer. The valuables were again checked and weighed by 
the Indian Mission and the weight was found to be a little more 
■than noted in Col, Rehman’s original list. 


59 


3. The valuables were brought to India and have been kept in 
■the National Museum at Rashtrapati Bhavan. As mentioned, the 
.. ‘Committee inspected these valuables at the Museum. Their estimated 
^alue is Rupees one lakh. The Museum was inspected twice, and 
' on the second occasion the Committee went along with Kundan 
Singh, Netaji’s personal valet. As already mentioned in Chapter 
HI, Kundan Singh identified a number of articles as belonging to 
Netaji. The articles found in the Museum were jewellery, and 
trinkets of the kind, which different witnesses have testified as gifts 
to Netaji from the Indian public in South-East Asia and which he 
carried with him on his last journey. It is evident that the charred 
■and damaged pieces of gold and jewellery, etc., which are in the 
National Museum, formed part of Netaji’s baggage in his last 
, journey, which was salvaged from Taihoku Airfield and later 
recovered from Mr. Murti. It is also seen that what was handed 
. Over by Mr. Murti, in 1951 tallied with the list signed by Col. 
Habibur Rehman in 1945. But it is not clear how much was carried 
by Netaji, and how much of it was recovered. Two suit-cases in 
which Netaji took the valuables were not weighed. We have only 
the evidence of witnesses that they were fairly heavy. Only one 
witness, Lt. Col. Nonogaki, has mentioned the weight as 20 kilos 
each. Only II kilograms of burnt-down jewellery mixed with base 
metal and ashes had been .recovered- Quite (jlearly, the quantity 
that has been recovered is much less than what Netaji carried with 
him. There are a large number of gaps and discrepancies in the 
chain. It is not clear whether the plane was cordoned off imme- 
diately after the crash, and the collection of valuables begun under 
proper supervision. After it was collected, there is discrepancy as 
to whether it was left for some days in an air-raid shelter, or taken 
next morning to the Japanese Military Headquarters at Taihoku. 
There is doubt as to the container. Some say it was a gasolene can, 
while others say that it was a wooden box. If the gasolene can 
was originally filled and sealed, tlTere is no evidence to show who 
opened it, and why, and put the contents again in a wooden box. 
The wooden box that was handed over in Tokyo to Mr. Ramamurti 
was not sealed, but only nailed. Whereas Major Takakura says that 
he handed over the box to Mr. Murti and Mr. Ayer along with the 
ashes, Mr. Murti says that only he was asked to come and take 
the box of valuables a few days after taking delivery of the ashes. 
Col. Rehman says that Messrs. Ayer and Murti went and brought 
the box from the Imperial General Headquarters. According to Mr. 
Ayer, he was not called, but came as if by accident, while Mr. Murti, 
his brother, and Col. Rehman were cleaning and sorting out broken 
pieces of jewellery. No receipt was taken or given by the General 
Headquarters. While Mr. Murti says that Col Rehman was satisfied 
that the box was in the same order as he had packed it in Taihoku, 


56 


:he took with him. As documents were destroyed to avoid faUmg 
-into Allied hands, reconstruction would be difficult. - ie _ 011 ^ ® 

that can be said is that Netaji disbursed large amounts m the nnai 
stages, and took some valuables and ornaments, etf:., 1In - 

Netaji apparently did not want to take the treasure wi ^ * nL 
According to the evidence of Pandit Raghunath Sharma, a evv ys 
previously Netaji had enquired of him whether he wou _ . _ a ® 
•charge of the treasure to which Pandit Raghunath Sharma 1 
agree. Mr. Debnath Das has stated that again at Saigon 11 ® 
Netaji proposed that he would leave the treasure behind. r. e ^ 
nath Das and Major Hasan did not agree to this, and so e aji 

■■carried the, valuables with him. ■. , 

4. Indian and Japanese witnesses have all deposed clearly abou 
•the treasure in Saigon. The plane was held up for about half an 
hour, as the car carrying the boxes of valuables was delayed. All 
■witnesses have stated that the number of cases which came out of 
the second car was two and they were hurriedly pushed into the 
-plane, in spite of the protest of the pilot. General Isoda has. said • 
that Major Hasan rushed up to say that the two boxes containing 
presents to Netaji by 3 lakhs of Indians in East Asia had not arrived 
and so Netaji delayed departure by half an hour till the tjoxes 
■came. General Isoda did not know what the boxes contained, but 
from what Major Hasan said he presumed that they contained 
gold and jewellery. While most witnesses say that the boxes were 
leather suit-cases about 30" long, Captain Gulzara Singh and uol. 
Pritam Singh have said that they were wooden boxes of a .smaller 
size. According to Mr. Negishi, he was told- by some Hikari Kikan 
■officers that Netaji’s baggage included 150 kilos of gold bullion. 
He goes on to say that some of this treasure accompanied Netaji 
while the rest of it was left with the party at Saigon to meet various 
expenses . ' Be that as it may, it may be taken as conclusive, that 
from Saigon Netaji carried with him two large leather suit-cases 
about 30" long containing gold and valuables. While, as stated be- 
fore, it may be discounted that the value was anything like Rupees 
one crore, there is no evidence on record which gives the details of 
the contents of the suit-cases, or any indication of their value. 

5. The plane crashed at Taihoku on the 18th of August. Col. 
Habibur Rehman has stated that he enquired next day as to what 
happened to the baggage, particularly the two leather suit-cases 
which contained gold and jewellery. He was told that the plane 
was completely burnt, and with it the luggage, but some charred 
jewellery had been salvaged, and kept in safe custody at the 
Military Headquarters. The collection was done under the super- 
vision of two Japanese Officers, Major K. Sakai, Officer in charge of 
the aerodrome defence, and Captain Nakamura alias Yamamoto, 
Officer in charge of the aerodrome. According to Major Sakai, when 




5 ? 


ne came to the scene two hours after the accident, he found Captain 
Nakamura and his men collecting articles lying cn the ground: 
As their number was insufficient, he lent 30 of ■ his men. Captaim 
i Nakamura, on the. other hand, says that on being asked by Lt. Col. 
Nonogaki, he asked his men to collect the valuables. He came andr 
found Major Sakai’s men under one Lt. Yamashida doing the collec- 
tion. Both officers, however, agree that charred and blackened 
jewellery such as necklaces, rings, medals, etcq were collected. 
These .were put in an 18-litre gasolene can, the top of which was 
sealed by means of strips of paper on which the officers placed' 
their own seals. About the subsequent disposal there is a slight 
discrepancy. According to Major Sakai, the can of valuables was 
kept only one night under guard, and delivered the next day to Lt. 
Col. Shibuya at the Headquarters. On the other hand, Captain 
Nakamura says that the can was kept for 4 or 5 days in the air- 
raid shelter under guard, and thereafter delivered to Lt. Col. 
Shibuya, On the 5th of September, Col. Habibur Rehman was 
flown to Tokyo. With him went Lt. T. Sakai and Lt. Hayashida- 
who' had been detailed by the Army Headquarters, Formosa, to cany 
with them Netaji’s ashes and his valuables. Major Sakai and' 
Captain Nakamura alias Yamamoto have both spoken of an 18-litre 
gasolene can. Lt. Col. Shibuya, Staff Officer ( of the Headquarters, 
2lso mentions the can. Lt. Col. T. Sakai in his statement describes- 
the container as “one baggage as big as an oil caii”. But Col. 
Habibur Rehman and Lt. Hayashida speak of a woo'den box. 

6. The box of valuables was delivered on the evening of the 7th. 
September at the Imperial General Headquarters, Tokyo. The Duty 
Officer, Major Kinoshita, who first received it, made over charge 
next morning to Lt. Col. Takakura. Both say that the box was a 
wooden box nailed down but not sealed. How a sealed gasolene 
can could become a nailed wooden box is not clear. According to- 
Lt. Col. Takakura, on the 8th September morning he phoned Mr. 
Ramamurti who came with Mr. Ayer and took charge both of 
Netaji’s ashes and valuables. Mr. Ramamurti says that two or- 
three days after his arrival in Tokyo (that would be 9th ‘or 10th 
September), Col. Habibur Rehman asked him to bring the box of 
valuables, and Mr. Ramamurti accordingly went and brought it from- 
the Imperial General Headquarters. The box was a heavy wooden 
box, and a porter was engaged to carry it. Col. Habibur Rehman 
says that a few days after his arrival in Tokyo, Messrs. Ayer and 
Ramamurti were called to the Imperial General Headquarters and 
the box containing the valuables was handed over to them. Mr. 

J. Murti corroborates his brother. Mr. Ayer does not say where the 
box was received, but indicates that in the last week of September 
he chanced upon Col. Rehman, Mr. Ramamurti and Mr. J. Murti 
cleaning and sorting out the charred jewellery in the house he and 


CHAPTER VI 


TREASURE . . 

Although in the terms of reference of the Committee, there was 
no mention of the treasure carried by Netaji on. his last nig 1 , ut 
the course of their examination a number of witnesses spoke of t e 
treasure. In fact, in Japan, to judge from newspaper articles, there 
was keen interest as to what happened to this treasure. In view o 
the public interest in the subject, -and evidence given before them, 
the Committee feel that some mention should be made m this- 

Report about this treasure. ; 

2. -It was the intention of Netaji to depend as little as possible on 
his Japanese allies, and to finance the Indian National Army from 
resources collected from Indian residents in South-East Asia. For 
this pur pose, , regular collection drives were made by Netaji and his- 
lieutenants, and large funds were collected. A special committee 
called “Netaji Fund Committee” was established under the Minister 
of Revenue* Gold and other valuables were generously donated by 
Indians in South-East Asia. On the occasion of his Birthday in 
January 1945, Netaji was weighed against gold. Not only cash and 
valuables, but immovable properties usid to be donated. Habib 
Sahib of Rangoon gave away at one timp all his estate in landed 
property, cash and jewellery valued at Rupees one crore and three 
lakhs. In return he asked from Netaji a pair of khaki shirt and 
shorts, so that he might. work for the Independence Movement 
(Page 160 of Major General A. C. Chatter jee’s book India’s Struggle 
for Freedom). The Funds of the Azad-Hind Government were 
handled by the Azad Hind Bank. How much of the liquid assets 
were carried by Netaji during his retreat from Rangoon onwards, 
is not precisely known. Mr. Debnath Das says that at the time of 
the retreat from Rangoon, treasure valued .at Rupees one crore, 
consisting mostly of ornaments and. gold bars, was withdrawn from 
the Azad Hind Bank, and taken away packed in 17 small sealed 
boxes. General Bhonsle says that Netaji had brought with him to 
Bangkok gold ornaments and cash packed in six steel boxes. The 
jewellery was a gift from Indians in South-East Asia. He did not 
see the jewellery, and had no idea of its value. Mr. Dinanath, 
Chairman of the. Azad Hind Bank, who was interrogated by the 
British Intelligence soon after the end of the war, had said that on 
the 24th April 1945 when Netaji left Rangoon, he took with him 
from the Bank 140 lbs. of gold. According to Pandit Raghunath 
Sharma, one of the leaders of the Indian . Independence League at 
Bangkok, Netaji took with him gold and other valuables, which 


- ' 55 

were collected from the people, of a total value exceeding Rupees, 
one crore. That some valuables were carried by Netaji with him- - 
is clear from the evidence, but from the very start doubt and dis- 
crepancies creep in as to the size and value of the treasure. Pandit 
Raghunath Sharma has stated that the valuables were kept in 10 
°r 12 steel boxes — 13 xl2 x 10 ; some a little smaller than others. 
General Bhonsle says that the contents of six steel boxes were- 
re-packed in two canvas bags at the time of Netaji’s departure. But 
Mr. Debnath Das has said that, before leaving Bangkok, the con- 
tents of the 17 treasure boxes mentioned by Mr. Das were re-packed 
into two large suit-cases, 30" to 36" long. It is doubtful whether gold 
and ornaments of the value of Rupees one crore could be carried' 
in two large leather suit-cases. Netaji’s personal valet, Kundan 
Singh, was examined by the Committee. According to him, the' 
treasure was packed in 4 steel cases of different sizes — 20" x 13" x 16" 
and 12"x6"x6". He was present at the time when the boxes 
were checked- before Netaji’s departure from Bangkok. He says, 
“The boxes contained articles of jewellery which are commonly 
worn by Indian women such as chains of ladies’ watches, necklaces, 
bangles, bracelets, earrings, etc. They were mostly of ladies. There, 
were also pounds and guineas. There were some chains which had ! 
guinea pieces attached to them. There were small gold wires, but 
there were no gold bars. . . . Besides these 4 boxes containing 
the treasure, Netaji’s personal effects, and certain other valuable 
articles which he had brought from Singapore, were kept in a small 
leather attache case. These contained a gold cigarette case which 
was presented to Netaji by Hitler.” Lt. Kunizuka of the Hikari Kikan 
who was constantly in touch with Netaji mentions that he was shown 
the valuables the same night, and agrees with Kundan Singh,, 
although he does not mention the number of boxes. 

3. On his last visit, Netaji made heavy, payments both at Singa- 
pore and Bangkok. His Japanese Secretary and Interpreter, Mr. 
Negishi, says that before leaving Singapore, as ordered by Netaji, ’ 
he withdrew from the Japanese Bank 8 crore yens out of a loan 
of 10 crores from the Japanese Government. It was drawn in paper 
money, and spent in payments to I.N.A. and civilian personnel. Mr. 
Debnath Das says that on the 17th August, just before leaving 
Bangkok, Netaji made large last-minute gifts of 1£ million ticals to 
Chulalongkorn Hospital and University and sanctioned two to three 
months’ pay to all officers and men of the I.N.A. He adds that this 
was not paid out of the treasure brought from Burma, but from the 
funds of the Thailand Indian Independence League. The same 
witness has said that among the baggage of Netaji was a large suit-' 
case containing documents and currency. The picture of the last 
hurried days is confused. It is not known how much Netaji with- 
drew, how much was spent, and how much in gold and jewellery- 



I 



iiad been changed since 1953. On looking at the Amrita Bazar 
Patrika , dated the 5th June 1956, that is, the picture of the urn 
-appearing on its front page, it is seen that the writing is in block 
letters and not in italics. 


Mr. Ayer went to Tokyo and visited the Renkoji temple in 
J.951. He has submitted a photo of the urn. The Com- 
mittee also took a photo of the urn in June 1956. The writing on all 
these photos; “NETAJI SUBHAS CHANDRA BOSE" appears to be 
identical. They are in block letters. A copy of the photo submitted 
-by Mr. Ayer and the one taken by the Committee are enclosed 
(Annexure II). It will be seen that Mr. Goswami has made a 
completely erroneous statement. After having examined the state- 
ment of these witnesses, it is clear that the reasons for doubting 
that the ashes did not belong to Netaji, are either based on 
insubstantial grounds, or on wrong facts and therefore have to he 
•discarded. 




. !:, 




■I ■ .1 


1 


* 



the smaller container were not examined. As he was handling 

these objects, Rev, Mochizuki was intoning some sacred mantras. 

One by one, he put back the containers into their original positions 

and securely locked with a key the door of the glass case. ... As 

in the case of most Japanese temples, the temple was very clean, 

both inside and outside. The Committee was satisfied that Rev. 

Mochizuki takes good care of the ashes, and they are being kept 

properly within the limited means of the authorities of the Renkoji 

temple.” ' 

• . 

9. The reasons for doubt given by Mr. J. C. Sinha, who went along 
with Mrs. Ilia Pal in 1955, are somewhat different. He says that 
he had met one Mr. Virick, a young man, who was one of the Tokyo 
Cadets (I.N.A.) during the war. . He was the cadet who had carried 
the urn containing the ashes to the Renkoji temple on the day of 
the original funeral ceremony on the 18th September 1945. Mr. 
Virick had returned to Japan, and was studying in the Tokyo 
University. His name was mentioned in this connection specifically 
by witness Mr: J. Murti. From Mr. Sinha’s statement it appears 
that Mr. Virick who went with him had some difficulty in finding 
his way to the temple, and in finding out where the urn was kept. 
Mr. 'Virick 'confessed to. Mr. Sinha that since depositing the aibes 
in 1945 he bad not been to the Renkoji temple. Mr. Sinha has 
given, the > reason for his disbelief. He says, "... had they 
been Netaji’s ashes, as Mr. “Virick told me, the person who is in 
Tokyo for the last . three . years from today, and if he had 
been really that "person , who had carried the ashes to the 
temple, should have visited that temple a number of times to pay 
his homage and respects, to that great departed leader-” Mr. Virick 
was in Tokyo as a cadet when he was a boy. It is presumed that 
like others he was repatriated soon after the war terminated. Years 
have passed and he again came back to Tokyo as a University 
student apparently in 1952-53. As a young cadet he could not have 
had much to do with Netaji, and one cannot say how much boyish 
impression the grown-up man retained. In any case, it would hard- 
ly be fair or logical to arrive at any conclusion about the genuine- 
ness of the ashes on the basis of personal reactions — apparent lack 
of attachment for the same ashes on the part of Mr. Virick. 

10. The third person who cast doubt is Mr. S. M. Goswami. Mr. 
Goswami appeared ^ before the Committee twice. In his' second 
statement recorded on the 16th June, Mr. Goswami says that where- 
as in 1953 he found that the writing on the urn of the words 
“NETAJI SUBHAS CHANDRA BOSE’S ASHES” was in italics, he 
was surprised to find a picture in Amrita Bazar Patrika, dated the 
5th June 1956, that the writing “NETAJI SUBHAS CHANDRA 
BOSE” was in block letters. He concluded that the whole thing 


mmarntmm 



50 


such time as they , could be delivered to the proper authorities- 
Every year on the 18th of August, Rev. Mochizuki offers prayers to 
the dead- From 1945 when the ashes were deposited till 1950 
nobody came to see or pay respects to the ashes except Mr. Rama- 
murti. L In May 1950, the then Head of the Indian Mission, Mr. K. K. 
Chettur, visited the temple. Since then, there have been many 
visitors including Mr. Ayer in 1951. last year (1955) there was- 
quite a big ceremony on the Death Anniversary Day, the 18th of 
August. A number of Japanese notables, including Madam To jo, 

. General Nakamura, General Kawabe, General Mutaguchi, General 
Katakura, attended. Our Committee visited the Renkoji temple and 
recorded a note which is enclosed (Annexure -I). A series of photo- 
graphs were taken showing the interior and exterior of the temple- 
and the inner and outer caskets in which the ashes are kept. Copies, 
of these will be found in Annexure II. * • 

7. 'From what has been said, it will be seen that the ashes were 
moved in stages from the crematorium to Nishi Honganji temple,, 
from there to Minami Aerodrome, and thence to Tokyo Imperial. 
General Headquarters. The progress thereafter was from the- 
Imperial General Headquarters, first to Mr. Ramamurti’s house, and 
'then to Mrs. Sahay’s house, and finally to the Renkoji temple, jThere- 
is no break in the chain. From the first, i.e., from the crematorium, 
the ashes were taken charge of by the Formosan Army, and* 
responsible officers were concerned with its keeping in the Nishi 
Honganji temple, and its delivery to the Imperial General Head- 
quarters. That the ashes were well, looked after iri the temple, has- 
been deposed by the -priest of a neighbouring temple. At the- 
Imperial General Headquarters, the first Duty Officer kept the ashes- 
in his own custody, and the next Duty Officer handed them over to - 
the local representative of Netaji’s Movement, Mr. RamamurtL 
Messrs. Ramamurti and Ayer took delivery and, after due ceremony, 
installed the ashes in Renkoji temple. Since then, Rev. Mochizuki- 
has looked after the ashes carefully. There is, therefore, good reason 
to believe that the ashes that were taken out from the crematorium, 
Taihoku, on or about the 21st of August 1945, were the same ashes 
as were deposited at the Renkoji temple, Tokyo, on or about the 18th 
September 1945, and the very same ashes remain in that temple- 
today. It is true that such precautions as were necessary to prove- 
indisputable identity 'were not taken. At no stage was the casket 
containing the ashes sealed, no formal receipts issued, nor again; 
continuous watch kept over it. So, although there cannot be abso- 
lute certainty, nevertheless, it can be said that, in all probability,, 
the ashes kept in. Renkoji temple, Tokyo, are the ashes of Net.aii 
Suhhas Chandra Bose. 

8. Three witnesses have expressed doubts that the ashes kept in 
the Renkoji temple are not the ashes of Netaji Subhas Chandra 


Bose. One of the witnesses who had doubts is Mrs. Ilia Pal 
Chowdhury, M.P. She went to Japan in a party with Mr. J.- C. 
Sinha and another gentleman, in, connection with the World Reli- 
gionists Conference in 1955, and visited the Renkoji temple along with 
her companions. She says, “I got the. feeling that the ashes were 
not Netaji’s ashes, because the temple was in -a very dilapidated 
condition. ' It is a tiny temple in an out. of the way place. It is almost 
18 to 20 miles out of Tokyo, , it may be a little more or less. The 
ashes are kept in a casual manner, wrapped up in an old chaddar 
and the dignity which should accompany. Netaji’s ashes- is not 
there. That is the feeling which I had and I would -like to convey 
■this to the Committee.” • It will be seen that this opinion is sub- 
jective, and not so much based on a study of the facts and circum- 
stances. As for the condition of the temple, the information given 
by Mrs. Ilia Pal is largely incorrect. The temple is not 18 to 20 
miles out of Tokyo, but only 6 miles from the centre of the city, 
and is in that part of Tokyo known as Suginamiku. It js not in a 
dilapidated condition, but is in an excellent state of preservation. 
This will be seen from the photos of the exterior and interior of the 
temple, taken at the time when the Committee was in Tokyo in 
May-June 1956 (Annexure II). 

There is no reason to believe that the temple was in a dilapidated 
condition a year back. The ashes are not kept in a casual manner, 
but well kept, and looked after by the priest, Rev. Mochizuki. The 
-Renkoji temple was inspected by the members of the Committee 
on the 30th May 1956. An extract from the note (Annexure I) given 
below will show the condition of the temple and how the ashes 
are kept: 

“The Renkoji temple is situated in Suginamiku quarter of 
Tokyo, about 6 miles from the centre of the town, where the Indian 
Embassy is situated. The temple is of a moderate size, built of 
timber in the usual style of Japanese Buddhist temples. Around- it 
is a small Japanese garden. The temple, although not very large, 
is well kept'. The ashes are kept in the main shrine just behind 
the altar in a large glass case. In this case are kept various vene- 
rated objects, such as gilded images of Bodhisattvas. On the left- 
hand side of the glass case is a small wooden casket in. the shape of 
a pagoda about 2 ft. high. In front of it is a small portrait of 
Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. A larger photograph of Netaji is 
kept outside in the left-hand corner of the glass case- Incense was 
burning before it. Rev. Mochizuki took out from the pagoda-shaped 
casket a rectangular-shaped wooden box painted red. On opening 
it ,was revealed a small container about 8" cube covered with some 
kind of white cloth. On it was written in large English letters in 
black ink “NETAJI SUBHAS CHANDRA BOSE”. The contents of 


out from a safety locker. It had straps of long-cloth with which ta 
sling around the neck of the bearer. It was a cubical box of about 
1 foot dimension. Several other Military personnel who were pre- 
sent solemnly bowed to the urn. It was received by Mr- Ayer. He* 
was visibly moved by an overwhelming emotion. An Army Sedan 
car was arranged for our conveyance. Mr. Ayer and myself took 
the urn direct to my house.” 

4. At that time, Mr. Murti’s ' house was being used for 

aU purposes as the Headquarters of the Indian Independence- 
League. The urn was placed on a pedestal .. and * flowers 
and incense were put on it. On the urn, which was so 
far without any marking, the words “NETAJI SUBHAS 
CHANDRA BOSE” were written in English letters by Mr. 
Ayer. Indian cadets, generally known as Tokyo Boys, came and kept 
vigil over the ashes. The same night Col. Habibur Rehman turned 
up first at Mr. Murti’s house, and later went to Mrs. Sahay’s house, 
and met Mr. Ayer who was staying there. Since hearing the story 
of the crash, Mr. Ayer had held up his judgment awaiting the 
arrival of Col, Habibur Rehman. Mr. Murti in his statement says: 
“Mr. Ayer lost no time in confronting him with a barrage of ques- 
tions • to all of which Col. Rehman very calmly, seriously and 
solemnly gave adequate replies. This conversation definitely clear- 
ed all doubts which Mr. Ayer had, and now Mr. Ayer was resolved 
that the crash was an indisputable reality, and Netaji was a victim 
of it. Col. Rehman himself was surprised that Mr. Ayer should 
doubt his story. He showed his own hands and face as visible proof 
of what had happened With a serious and solemn face, and eyes 
burning with sincerity Col. Rehman allayed all doubts of anyone 
who came in contact with him, and we all accepted this as truth 
without a shadow of doubt in our minds.” Next day he repeated 
the story to a bigger audience. Fearing that he might be arrested 
by the Allies, Col. Habibur Rehman also handed over to Mr. Murti, 
a .copy of a brief written statement which was dated 24th August 
1945 about what had happened to Netaji. (As previously stated, 
this statement was handed over to the Committee by Mr. J. Murti.) 
(Annexure I.) , 

5. To revert to the ashes, as the American Occupation of Japan 
had begun, Mr. Murti and his friends felt that an elaborate funeral 
ceremony would attract attention, and might be treated as a hostile 
demonstration by the Occupation Forces. They, therefore, decided 
to hold such a ceremony on a modest scale. Large ceremonies are 
usually held at large temples like Nishi Honganji temple, Tokyo. 
For the modest ceremony they looked for a smaller temple, and 
fixed upo-n the Renkoji temple in the same quarter of Tokyo, 
Suginamiku, in which Mr. Murti lived. The priest, Rev. Mochizuki, 


1 


' 49 

Mso agreed to the proposal. At the request of Mrs. Sahay, the ashes 
were kept in her house for a day, and homage was paid to them also. 
Then the funeral ceremony was held at the Renkoji temple. There 
is some difference as to the date- Mr-. Ramamurti says that it was 
held on the 12th or 13th of September. Mr. Ayer gives the date as 
14th September. According to Col. Habibur Rehman (who, how- 
ever, was not present) it was five or six days after his arrival in 
Tokyo. According to the priest, Rev. Mochizuki, the date was the 
18th of September. On the day of the funeral ceremony, the ashes 
were carried in a procession from Mrs. Sahay’s house to the Renkoji 
temple. Mr. J. Murti has described the occasion thus; 

“All the Tokyo I.N.A. cadets, my brother and I, Mrs. Sahay and 
her family and the I.N.A. broadcasting unit were present. Mr. Ayer 
was also with the procession. Col. Rehman could not accompany 
■the procession as he was wanted by the American Police for 
interrogation. Besides, the Tokyo cadets numbering about 40, there 
“Were a small number of Japanese. About 10 or 15 Japanese mili- 
tary officers and civilians were also present in the procession. The 
ashes were carried by a cadet by the name of Virick. The procession 
went from Mrs. Sahay’s house to the Renkoji temple, which was at 
a distance of about two miles from her house. On arrival at the 
temple, the ashes were put on the altar, and as the flowers and 
“Wreaths were placed, the religious ceremony was conducted by four 
•or five Buddhist priests.” 

Lt. Col. Takakura says that he attended the funeral ceremony as 
a representative of the Imperial General Headquarters. There were 
-■approximately 100 persons, including some Japanese. The details of 
the procession given by Mr. J. Murti are corroborated by Rev. 
Mochizuki, priest of the Renkoji temple. About the ceremony he 
■says: “The temple of which I am the priest is a Buddhist temple. 

When the ashes were brought, we placed them on a wooden stand. 
The ashes were contained in a small wooden box, about 8" cube. It 
was wrapped in white cloth on which was written NETAJI SUBHAS 
CHANDRA BOSE. I can read sprinted English a little. At the cere- 
mony I called six other priests. I stood in the front. We burnt 
incense (aggarbattis) . Mr. Murti gave 30 yens wrapped in a piece 
*of paper. I distributed this sum amongst all the priests. . . . The 
ceremony lasted for one hour, after which people went away, and I 
■stayed behind in the temple by the side of the ashes to make sure 
that nobody came and took them away.” 

6. According to Rev. Mochizuki, after the funeral ceremony it 
is customary for the people to take away the ashes, but in this case 
Sie was asked by Mr. Ramamurti, Mrs. Sahay and a Japanese Staff 
Officer to keep the ashes in a befitting manner, as they belonged to 
a great man, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. He agreed to do sc till 



the box containing valuables, and asked Lt. Col. T. Sakai to* take - 
charge of them. Sub. Lt. T. Hayashida was also asked to proceed 
to the Taihoku Aerodrome to carry the two boxes to Tokyo. 
cording to the written statement of ^Lt. Col. T. Sakai, at thata| 
time his hands and face were still bandaged, and he could not lift 
any luggage. One Major Nakamiya, who' was acquainted with Col. 

, Habibur Lehman, also went on the same plane. Lt. Hayashida ssys.,% 
that he arrived at the aerodrome at 11 a.m. on the 5th of Septem- 
ber, and found that Lt, Col. Sakai, Major Nakamiya and Col. Habi- 
bur Lehman were there. _ There were also two boxes one con- 
taining Netaji’s ashes, and *the other gold and jewellery. The first 
box was 1 foot cubical in shape, and the second box was 3 ft. 

2£ ft. x 2 ft. Both were of wood. The first was covered with white 
cloth, and the second had a leather covering. ' Both were nailed. 

•He slung the box containing the ashes from his neck in the 
Japanese style. According to Lt. Col. Sskai, the aerodrome was 
Min ami Aerodrome near Taihoku. The plane accident had taken 
place at the bigger Matsuyama Aerodrome. Major Nagatomo had 
arranged for the box containing the ashes to be taken from the , 
temple, and delivered at the aerodrome. The aeroplane in which 
the party was travelling was, according to Col. Habibur Lehman, 
a Red Cross plane. Lt. Col. Sakai says that it was a 97 heavy 
bomber marked with a green cross. It flew to Gannosu Airfield 
near Fukuoka in Kyushu, the southern-most island of Japan. There 
is >some discrepancy as to what happened then. According to 
Lt. Col. Sakai and Lt. Hayashida they all left by train 
next afternoon at 3 pm., after having, collected a guard of or.e 
Sergeant and two soldiers from the local Military Headquarters, 
According to Lt. Col. Sakai, they had consultations at Fukuoka 
and decided that, in the interest of safety, the party should be 
divided into two. While Col. Habibur Lehman and Major 
Nakamiya' flew on to Tokyo, he (Lt, Col. Sakai) and Lt. Hayashida, 
with the ashes and the box of valuables, proceeded by train, attend- 
ed by a guard of three soldiers from the local Army Headquarters. 
There is also discrepancy as regards the time of departure from" 
P’ukuoka and arrival at Tokyo. Col. Habibur Rehman says that 
the party left by night by goods train, and next morning (6th 
September) they reached Tokyo. Lt. Col. Sakai says that he and 
Lt. Hayashida left Fukuoka on the morning of 6th September, 
and reached Tokyo the same evening. According to the current 
time-table of the Japanese National Railways, even fast Express 
trains take 20 to 22 hours to reach Tokyo from Fukuoka (Hakata). 

It is unlikely that in 1945, after the war, the service was so much 
faster. So the time of travel, approximately 12 hours, given by 
Col. Habibur Rehman or Lt. Col. Sakai, is incorrect. The timing 
mentioned by Lt. Hayashida is more reasonable. He says that the 


47 


party left Fukuoka at 3 p.m. on the 6th September and arrived at 

p.m. on the 7th September. This date tallies with what has been 
mentioned by two officers of the Imperial General Staff, Major 
Kinoshita and Lt.- Takakura, who received the ashes. However, the 
■discrepancy as regards the time is not' of great importance. 

3. All the three witnesses, Col. Habibur Rehman, Lt. Col. Sakai 
and Lt. Hayashida, say that immediately on arrival at Tokyo the 
two boxes containing the ashes and valuables were taken to the 
Imperial General Headquarters. As it was after office hours, 
they made over charge to the Duty Officer, Major Kinoshita. The 
Duty Officer, Major Kinoshita, was examined by the Committee. 

■ He said that on the 7th of September at 11 p.m. an officer of the 
rank of Lt. Col. handed over to him for safe custody two wooden 
boxes which he said he had brought from Taiwan (Formosa). One 
1 L° x was 8" in size and the other 10" in size. One was light and the 
other heavy. The boxes were nailed and wrapped in cloth but were 
not sealed. The Officer who brought them said that the smaller 
box contained the ashes of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, 
while the bigger one contained gold. As the boxes 
were received late at night, Major Kinoshita kept them 
in his room in his personal custody, and in the morning 
handed them over to the next Duty Officer, Lt. Col. Takakura. 
Lt. Col. Sakai went round to the Imperial General Headquarters 
next morning, and met Lt. Col. Takakura, Chief of the Military 
Affairs Section, whom he knew, and confirmed that he had receiv- 
ed the ashes and the box containing valuables. Neither the Duty 
Officers gave or took any receipt for the two boxes, r.or made 
any written entries about them. Having taken charge of the ashes, 
Lt. Col. Takakura called the other officers of the Headquarters and 
paid respects to Netaji’s ashes. He then contacted Mr. Rama- 
murti, President of the Indian Independence League, Tokyo, over 
the telephone, and asked him to come to the Headquarters and 
take charge of the ashes. A car was also arranged for Mr. MurtL 
Mr. Murti came in about half an hour’s time, accompanied by Mr. 
Ayer who had by then arrived in Tokyo. At the main entrance of 
the Imperial General Headquarters, on the morning of the 8th 
September, the ashes were handed over to Messrs. Murti and Ayer, 
by Lt. Col. Takakura in a simple and solemn ceremony which is 
described by Mr. Murti in the following words: 

“There Major Takakura (later Lt. Col.) was present, and there 
were two or three other officers. I do not recollect whether General 
Arisui was there. General Arisui was in the Imperial General Head- 
quarters. Major Takakura told us that General Arisui had asked 
him to convey his personal condolences to us and to deliver the 
ashes to us. The urn was wrapped in white cloth, and was taken 


44 






J&a 


■ . - . . : 


•*L' , ' ' _ . - 

a routine matter. “More so, as the’ plane carried distinguished 
persons like Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and Lt. General Shidei. 
But no such enquiry was held. On being questioned. General 
Isayama first denied that the Formosan Army had any responsibility 
to enquire into an. accident of aircraft that did not belong to them — 
the plane in question belonged to the Third Air Army at Singapore. 
Later on he admitted that the local Army Command was expected 
to hold an enquiry, and went on to say that a report about this parti- 
cular plane or ash was submitted through him, by Lt. Col. Shibuya, 
to the Imperial General Headquarters. As mentioned in a previous 
chapter dealing with the air crash, Lt." Col. Shibuya denied know- 
ledge of any such report. Netaji was the Head, of a State allied to 
Japan in war, but actually the cremation of his body was a very 
quiet affair, attended only by the same Major Nagatomo and a 
dozen soldiers. Truly, it may be said, “not a. drum was heard, not 
a funeral note”. .One would have expected him to be buried with 
the usual military honourSr— gun carriage draped in flag, soldiers 
lining with reversed arms, and so on. It is ■true that there was a 
certain amount of disorganisation following the Japanese surrender 
on 15th of August 1945, but even taking this into account, ^there 
remains a residual impression thaf all that could have been done, 
was not done. 



/ 


CHAPTER V 

NETAJI’S ASHES 

' 1 . 

The last part of this sad story is about Netaji’s ashes. The day the 
ashes were taken out of the crematorium, the urn in which they 
were kept was taken and left at the Nishi Honganji temple 'in 
Taihoku city. Col. Habibur Rehman, Major Nagatomo and Mr. 
J. Nakamura, Interpreter, went to the temple. Mr. Nakamura has 
?aid that the urn was handed over to the Head Priest, with instruc- 
tions that it should be well looked after, -and fresh flowers placed 
before it every day. The urn was to be kept for the time being in 
the temple, till it was taken away to its Anal resting place. This 
temporary deposit seems to have been customary, for Mr. Nakamura 
says that in the same temple he saw another urn containing the 
ashes of General Shidei. There were two Buddhist temples near 
Nanmon Military Hospital, Taihoku: one was the Nishi (West) 
Honganji temple which was the biggest temple in Formosa, and 
had twelve priests, and the other was the Higashi (East) Honganji 
temple which had eight priests. The Nishi Honganji temple was 
nearer to the Nanmon Military Hospital, and the other temple was 
600 metres away from it. These details have been given by the 
priest of Higashi Honganji temple, Rev. H. Hidexnaru, whom the 
Committee examined as a witness. No priest from the Nishi 
Honganji temple could be traced. According to Rev. Hidemaru, 
the ashes were kept in a white box in the Nishi Honganji temple. 
He says that the urn containing the ashes was kept there by the 
Japanese Army who looked after it carefully and later brought it 
to Tokyo. He says that a funeral ceremony was held at Nishi Hon- 
ganji temple towards the end of August 1945. Major Nagatomo says 
that he attended a funeral ceremony at the Nishi Honganji temple, 
either on the day the ashes were deposited, or on the next day. Lt. 
Col. Shibuya, the Staff Officer, also mentions the funeral ceremony 
at this temple. It appears that there was a ceremony also in the 
Higashi Honganji temple. Rev. Hidemaru says that on the 22nd or 23rd 
(i.e., soon after the ashes were brought to Nishi Honganji 
temple) his own Head Priest told him that a ceremony would be 
held for an important Indian personality on the 26th or 27th of 
August. He goes on to say that this ceremony did take place. 

2 . On the 5th September, a plane was flying to Tokyo. A 
passage was secured for Col. Habibur Reh/nan who had been ask- 
ing for it from the Headquarters of the Formosan Army. Lt. Col. 
Shibuya, the Staff Officer of the same Headquarters, also decided 
to send by the same plane the urn containing Netaji’s ashes, and ' 
55 I & B— (4) 









Afterclpsing ^he'4>ox, it was .wrapped . up in a white c o . 

. .wrapping jthe box an a white cloth, it was put round . t e , 

Indian -Adjutant, and .we went iby car to the Nishi (Wes ) 
temple. : That day -a special ceremony was held at the temp e. 

,Ccd. Jialnbim.Itehman corroborates Major Nagatomo s version, but 
he does not give- so much detail. Mr. Harin Shah -had the a van age 
of .not only .visiting the crematorium in 1946, but he also had Ques- 
.tioned , the .caretaker, Mr. Chu Tsang. He said that the coffin of e 
was .very .big. It was brought to the crematorium at about 3 p.m. an 
it took 8 hours to burn. The Japanese Officers had paid the usual fee 
of 18 yens. The coffin was so big, that it could not be put an he . 
chamber, and so the body .'had to be placed in a .smaller coffin. 
According to Mr. Ghu Tsang, it was he who had collected the ashes 
next .morning, and put it into the usual wooden funeral urn. He 
told Mr. Harin Shah that one Indian, with his forearm bandaged, 
came in a car with some Japanese and took away the urn. He describ- 
ed the Indian as a tall person dressed in white with his forearm 
bandaged. 

5. Here again, about the cremation, the evidence has come from 
two Japanese, one Indian (Pakistani), and one Formosan wi ip ess. 
Their stories closely corroborate each other. There is no reason why 
these witnesses of different origin should tell the same story, unless . 
they themselves took part in the events they described. There has 
been no suggestion of, disposal of Netaji’s body in any other iyay 
but by cremation at the Taihoku Crematorium. The slight confusion 
caused by Southern Army Headquarters telegram, dated the 20th 
August, that the body had been flown to Tokyo, could be explained in 
two ways. First, their own explanation that the report regarding 
Netaji’s body was flown to Tokyo, presumably with Col. Tada. 
Secondly, they might have been referring at that time to the first 
instruction, received from Imperial General Headquarters to fly the 
body to Tokyo, which \vas subsequently countermanded. It can be 
taken as well established that the body of Netaji Subhas Chandra • 
Bose was burnt at Taihoku Crematorium, and his ashes were there- 
after deposited at the Nishi Honganji temple in the same city. Thus 
dust returned to dust, and so little was left of so big a man. 

6. An ordinary person reading the story from the beginning, from 
the flight from Saigon, to the deposit of the ashes in Nishi Honganji 
temple, cannot help feeling that things were not arranged in 
the best possible way. Netaji’s requirement for air transport 
was modest. He only asked for passage for himself and 
six of his Advisers and Officers. It is not clear why this inodest 
request could not be met. It is true that at that time, air passages 
were not easy to come by. Major Kono, for instance, who was on t 
transfer to Tokyo, had to wait at Saigon for two weeks for his 


■ . , ; T 

...passage. But therr’ we have it from the evidence of Captain 
Nakamura alias Yamamoto that the flight .of Japanese aircraft was 
restricted- only after the 25th of August, i.e., 8 days after Netaj'i’s 
departure from . Saigon. Perhaps, it .was not so difficult -to arrange 
for 7 seats in an air transport. General Isoda,' the Chief of the 
Japanese Liaison Mission, expected this to be provided, and was 
disappointed when he was 'informed to the contrary. Then,' the 
plane itself was not probably in ' a particularly good state, as may 
be deduced from the fact that an engine - had to be changed at 
Saigon. General Isayama, Chief of the General Staff, Formosan 
Army, has said that the engine of the plane was worn out. When 
the crash took place, it was dealt with in a somewhat casual manner. 
No officer of any standing came to the spot, although it is clear from 
the evidence of Staff Officer Major Nagatomo that information 
about the crash was received from the aerodrome immediately after 
it had occurred. The Chief of the General Staff of the Formosan 
Army, General Isayama, was candid enough to say that he learnt 
of the accident when he went to his office the next morning! And 
although Lt. Col. Nonogaki has stated that, - on informing the Head- 
quarters, some Staff Officers came while Netaji was alive, the Staff 
Officers themselves, namely, Col. Miyata and Major Nagatomo, say 
that they arrived after Netaji had died. Major Nagatomo says 
that immediately after receiving the information, General Ando, 
Commander of the Formosan Army, went to the hospital to see 
Netaji. He also says that General Ando attended the subsequent 
funeral ceremony at Nishi Honganji temple. General Isayama, 
Chief of the General Staff, who should know what the 'Army 
Commander was doing, gives a completely different story. He says 
that neither he nor General Ando went either to the hospital to pay 
respects to Netaji’s body, or attended any funeral ceremony. He 
goes on to say that the Army Commander had shut himself up in 
his house from the day of surrender of Japan, and did not come out. 
In justification, he has said that they kept away so as not to give 
prominence to the fact that an important person like Netaji was 
fleeing to Tokyo. That explanation does not appear very convincing 
when he himself said that a week later he went and. received Dr. 
Ba Maw, the Prime Minister of Burma, and General Tanaka, Chief 
of the General Staff, Burma Army, who were on their way to Tokyo. 
Apparently, no particular interest was taken by the local Army 
Command as to what happened to Netaji’s body. A comparatively 
junior officer, a Major (Nagatomo), was detailed, and thereafter no 
further interest was apparently taken. General Isayama says, 

"I left the matter of disposal of Mr. Bose’s ashes to my Staff Officer, 
and since I did not receive any report from him, I presume every- 
thing must have worked out smoothly.” One would have at least 
expected a formal inquiry into the air crash, which is more or less 



— -~Ti . ' ' 

. 

' . . - ■: ■ . ■ '.1 - 

* r \ . f: ■ ’• / , h + • 

40 . . ■ 

quarters was followed by a second- telegram, asking them not to 
send the body to Tokyo, but to cremate it at Taihoku. No reason 
was given for this change of orders. Col. Habibur Rehman was 
told, on the 20th, that the body could not be transported by plane, 
because the coffin was too big to be carried in the small plane which 
the- Japanese had-. Formosa was hot in August, and it was the third 
day after the death. Finding no alternative, he had to agree to the 
cremation of the body at Taihoku. There is some discrepancy about 
the date of cremation. In his statement before us, Col. Habibur 
Rehman had given the date of cremation as 20th of August, but in 
a statement signed by him dated 24th August 1945 and handed to 
Mr. Murti, the date was given as 22nd August. Mr. J. Nakamura 
definitely gives the date as 20th August. Dr. Yoshimi says that so 
far as he could remember, it was the 20th, but he was not very sure. 
Major Nagatomo has not mentioned any definite date, but says 
that the cremation was done “on the same day, on receipt of the 
second telegram from the Imperial General Headquarters” — which 
appears to have been received on the 19th of August. It is unlikely 
that with so much argument, and change of orders, the body was 
cremated on the 19th, i.e., the date following the death. The crema- 
tion is more likely to have taken place sometime later. 

3. The cremation was a simple and quiet ceremony. ■ Although 
Col. Habibur Rehman says that the Hospital staff and a large 
number of others' accompanied the cortege, this is not confirmed by 
Dr. Yoshimi, the doctor in charge of the Military Hospital. Dr. 
Yoshimi simply says, “The body was taken away from the Hospital 

by the Captain of the guard that was posted there on the 18th 

The coffin was placed in the truck and carried away.” Major 
Nagatomo, who had been detailed by the Military Headquarters to 
make all necessary arrangements for the cremation and funeral of 
Netaji’s body, says that the coffin was placed on a truck, with twelve 
soldiers, and ahead of it he went along in a car with the Indian 
Adjutant (Col. Habibur Rehman) and the Interpreter (Mr- 
Nakamura). The Interpreter, Mr. Nakamura, has given a detailed 
description as to what had happened at the crematorium. The 
crematorium was visited by Mr. Harin Shah. It was the Taihoku 
Ci ty Government Cremator ium, and was reached after crossing the 
mam” Sun Yat-Sen Avenue. Mr. Harin Shah took some photographs 
of the crematorium both from inside and outside: Apart from the 
Japanese soldiers, persons definitely present at the cremation were: 
Col. Habibur Rehman, 

* Major Nagatomo, 

Mr. J. Nakamura, 
a Buddhist priest, and 

the Crematorium Attendant, Mr. Chu Tsang. 

The Committee has examined the first three. The Buddhist priest 


' l WV- 






and the Formosan attendant could not be examined, as we could 
not go to Formosa. Mr. Nakamura has given a detailed account 
of the crematorium, and what took place there. He says: “On arriv- 
al at the crematorium, the soldiers took up the coffin, and carried it 
to the furnace. The crematorium was a large-sized hall with a fur- 
nace in the middle. The hall, as far as I remember, was approxi- 
mately 16 ft. by 16 ft. From the entrance to the hall, the soldiers 
carried the coffin on their shoulders, and placed it in the sliding 
tray in the furnace, and after closing the door of the .furnace they 
came out, and told us that they had placed the coffin in position in 
the furnace. The soldiers went out, and we, who were waiting out- 
side, went inside the hall. < Col. Rehman was in the front. I was next 
to him. The other gentlemen, totalling about five, followed us. We 
went and stood in front of the furnace. All of us stayed there and 
saluted. After paying our respects, we went to the back side of the 
furnace where we found the priest standing with burning incense 
sticks (aggarbattis) in his hand. He wanted to hand over a stick to 
Col. Rehman but as he could not hold it, I took the stick and placed it 
in Col. Rehman’s hands. Coi. Rehman held it between the edge of his 
palms, since he could not hold it in his fingers, and placed it in the 
hole which was located at the rear of the furnace. I took the next in- 
cense stick and put it down in the same hole and everybody fol- 
lowed likewise. As we came out of the entrance of thd crematorium, 
the caretaker told us to come there the following day, at about noon- 
time.” The party came away after locking the door of the furnace. 
Both Col. Habibur Rehman and Major Nagatomo claim to have 
kept the key. 

4. Next day, they again went to the crematorium to collect the 
ashes. Regarding collection of ashes, Major Nagatomo says: 

“Next morning at about 8 a.m. I went to the hospital to take the 
Indian Adjutant with me. I went to the hospital, in a car, and as far 
as I remember, the Interpreter was also with us on the next day. On 
arrival at the crematorium, I opened the lock of the furnace with the 
key that was with me, and pulled out the sliding plate. From the 
Headquarters I had taken with me a small wooden box 
about 8" cube. When we pulled out the plate on which the coffin 
had been put, we found that the whole skeleton had still retain- 
ed its shape, but it was completely burnt. According to the Buddhist 
custom, I first picked a bone from the throat with two chop-sticks 
and placed it in the box. Then I picked a bone from every portion of 
his body and placed it in the box. The Indian Adjutant did the same 
after me. I. do not remember about the Interpreter, whether he 
picked up the bones or not. In this way, the whole of the box was 
filled up. The lid of the box containing the bones was nailed but I 
am not quite sure whether it was nailed here, or in the temple. 


he 


p ' knew' 


>Jr? 


told Kirn' that even before the crash of- Netaji’s plane;, .... ,,, 
that such' a false story 'Would be given out. This story, ^ ■ Pj . 
lished 1 m the Ananda Bazar Patrika (Bengali) of Calcutta on ^ 
May 1951'. While travelling in the Mishmi hills, some is , 
headmen told Mr. Gupta thaf : some of them had been ta en J? 
some Chinese officers, who were on their border,, to see an n an 
among them; They were shown a person who looked like ea R 
Subhas Chandra Bose'. Mr. Gupta added that the Mishmis in question 
had not seen Netagi before, and he could not vouch for the truth 
of their story. Vague suggestions have, appeared from time to- 
time that Netaji was with the Chinese Army, or with t e 
fighting Nagas, or that one day he would come to India at the head 
of an Army. To such suggestions, one can only quote from the 
historic speech Netaji delivered when he assumed charge of the 
Indian Independence Movement in Singapore on the 4th July 1943. 
“Even my enemies will not have the audacity to say that I can 
injure the interest of my country.” (Page 79 in Major General A. C^ 
Chatterjee’s book India’s Struggle }or Freedom.) 


CHAPTER IV 

* 

CREMATION OF NETAJI’S BODY 

* 

immediately after Netaji passed away, the Japanese present stood 
up and paid respects to his body .by saluting. Col. Habibur Rehman 
was one of Netaji’s most trusted officers, and had been especially 
chosen by Netaji to accompany him on this journey. Habibur 
Rehman was deeply affected by Netaji’s death. The Interpreter, 
Nakamura, who was . present at the death-bed, has graphically 
described how Col. Rehman prayed for the dead. At first he came 
and knelt by Netaji’s bed, and prayed for five or six minutes. Then 
he opened the window and, looking at the sky, prayed for a longer 
time, and then slowly came to his bed and lay down. All present 
in the room were affected, Dr. Yoshimi says that tears were rolling 
down Col. Rehman’s eyes. The nurses were crying loudly. Every- 
body present in the room was crying. In fact, describing this 
poignant scene before the Committee, Dr. Yoshimi himself broke 
down and sobbed audibly. Thereafter, Dr. Yoshimi informed the 
Military Headquarters of the sad event. Major Nagatomo was sent 
down "from the Headquarters. He came and saw Netaji’s body 
lying on the hospital bed swathed in bandages. The bocy was 
removed to one corner of the room, and a screen was put round it, 
and according to Japanese custom, flowers and candles were placed 
by its side. The changed position is shown in the sketches of* the 
hospital furnished by Dr. Yoshimi and Col. Habibur . Rehman. 
Major Nagatomo posted soldiers to guard the body. 

2. Next day, i-e., on the 19th August, the Formosan Army Head- 
quarters received a telegram from the Imperial General Head- 
quarters that the body should be flown to Tokyo by plane. Accord- 
ingly, Major Nagatomo instructed Dr. Yoshimi to inject Formalene 
into the body to preserve it. On the same day, the body was put in 
a coffin which, according to Col. Habibur Rehman, was made of 
camphor-wood. Major Nagatomo says that he had, lifted the lid of 
the coffin and seen Netaji’s face. He says, “I saw Mr. Bose’s face. 
It was a big round face.” Col. Habibur Rehman also saw the body 
being put in the coffin. Meanwhile, Col. Habibur Rehman had been 
pressing the local Japanese Military authorities to arrange for the 
transport of the body, preferably to Singapore, or alternatively to 
Tokyo. On that day, i.e., on the 19th, some senior Military officers 
came to the Hospital, and expressed their regrets for the unfortunate 
accident and Netaji’s demise. But the body was not transported 
by plane either to Singapore, or to Tokyo, According to Major 
Nagatomo, the first telegram from the Imperial General Head- 


Japanese witnesses, were not. . Yet. they have corroborated each 
other. So .the line of reasoning of this school cannot be accepted. 

12. The other; school- claims that Netaji is not only alive, but 
people have seen him, and that he has appeared here and there, 
plainly. in China, and also on the border of India and China. 
Mr. Mtithuramalinga; TheVar, M.L.A. (Madras), has issued press 
statements, from time to time, thaf he has been in contact with 
Netaji. He was the first witness to be called by the Committee. 
Although implored by the Committeej he would not part with his 
secret. He took the plea that he must first be satisfied that 
■ Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was not on the list of War Criminals. 
When, on enquiry from the Government of India, he was told that 
the Government did not have any such list, he was still not satis- 
fied. More than once Mr. Thevar stated that he belqnged to a 
political party (Forward Bloc), and so he must vfiefw all things 
from a political angle. He was questioned about his press state- 
ments to which he replied significantly, “This is an Official Com- 
mittee; that was a- public affair.” A person who is not prepared 
to stand by the statements he makes to the public and press, be- 
fore an official Committee, cannot expect to be taken seriously. 
Mr. S. M. Goswami has produced , a sensational pamphlet “Netaji 
Mystery Revealed”. He gave evidence before the Committee in 
. Calcutta, and claims that Netaji is alive. Apparently, his theory 
. started in 1949, when "he went to Germany, and met a certain 
gentleman, Herr Heins Von Have, who told him that Netaji was 
alive. Herr Have claimed to have been acquainted with Netaji. 
Mr. Goswami was questioned regarding Von Have. In reply, he 
said thgt when the plane crash took place, Von Have was in Tokyo. 
He was not sure whether he went to Formosa to enquire into the 
plane crash, or heard it from some German friends. These German 
friends, about whom no particulars are supplied, told Von Have 
that there had been no crash. Mr. Goswami did not go to Formosa. 
Such, information can only be described as hearsay. Mr. Goswami 
has put forward several suggestions as' to where Netaji was, or is — 
Soviet Russia, China and Mongolia. Mr. Goswami is prepared to 
hold that by stages Netaji, originally a- Russian prisoner, became 
a Chinese Communist General, and subsequently a Mongolian 
Trade Union Delegate. But his main reliance is on pictures. Op- 
posite page 8 of his pamphlet “Netaji Mystery Revealed” is a 1 
’ picture of Chinese Military Officers. The person sixth from the 
left, is supposed to resemble Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. Identity 
is very difficult to establish from such pictures, particularly 
when, the.,, persons appear in foreign uniforms. But the 
picture on which Mr. Goswami pinned his faith was that of 
the visit of the Mongolian Trade Delegation to Peking in 1952, 
which came to his hand in 1955, in a book published by the 


37 


Workers’' Press, Peking.' He has enlarged the picture appearing 
on page 4 of that booklet, and submitted it to the Committee. He 
holds the third figure from the left has a striking resemblance to' 
Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. The difficulty about identifying a 
person from a random picture has been mentioned. It might be 
stated’ here, without any suggestion of flippancy, that cinema films 
' of historical characters, such as Ramakrishna or Swami Viveka- 
nanda, are produced now and again. Those who wish to be cast for 
'such roles are called for interview by the producer, and quite a 
number appear bearing a close resemblance. But the actor who ap- 
pears on the screen as S\Mami Vivekananda is really an entirely 
different person from the original.- In any case, that picture of the 
Mongolian Delegation was sent to the Indian Embassy, Peking, for 
identification. The Foreign Office of the People’s Republic of 
China has stated after enquiry that the photo was of a Chinese 
gentleman, Mr. Lee Ke Hung. Medical Superintendent' of the 
Peking University Medical College. A copy of the telegram convey-, 
ing the information will be found in Annexure I. In' his enthusiasm, 
'Mr. Goswami appeared before the Committee. for the second time. 
He was questioned further about the Mongolian Delegate. The 
questions and answers are given below : ' 

“ Question : How did you come to know about the activities of 
this particular Mongolian Delegate? 

Reply: From the statement of- Lt. N. B. Das made through 
the press. 

Question: How did Lt. Das come to know of the whereabouts 
of the Mongolian Delegate? 

Reply: It is up to him to answer.” 

In this connection it may be^ stated that a certain person 
claiming to be Lt. N. B. Das appeared, and deposed before the 
Committee. Mr. Debnath Das, who was an Adviser to the Pro- 
visional Government of Azad Hind, wrote a letter about this 
person to the Chairman of the Committee which reads as follows: 
“It appeared in the press that one Lt. N. B. Das gave evidence 
to the Commisison. Das was a Havildar attached to Col. P. N. Dutta 
and was at Zawabudy, Central Burma, when the Allied troops took 
Burma. He was not a Security Officer. He was not stationed at 
Bangkok as was reported.” 

The value of information gleaned from such a> source cannot 
be .high, and the theories built by Mr. Goswami on such hearsay 
cannot carry much weight. 

13. One responsible person who suggested that Netaji might be 
alive, is Mr. A. K. Gupta, Joint Editor of the Hindusthan Standard. 
Mr. Gupta said that in 1951 he undertook a tour in the hill areas 
of Assam. There he met Mr. Phizo, the Naga leader. Mr. Phizo 



Mountbatten’s , Headquarters, at Kandy^ through^ Gol...F-^ G- Figgess, 
at .that' time attached to General MacArthur’s Headquarters at 
Tohyo; about, Netaji Subhas; Chandra , Bose. This, enquiry was hand- 
led" by ah American Intelligence Officer working under G.H.Q., 

. SCAP (Supreme Commander, Allied Powers). 'The conclusion reach- 
ed from these reports was that Netaji had died of bums at Taipeh 
as a result of the air. crash.- 

9. In August 1946, i.e., the year after the events, Mr. Harin Shah, . 
an Indian journalist, visited Formosa- at the invitation of the Chiang 
Kai-shek Government. There he took up. enquiry on his own about 
Netaji-. Mr- Shah came across a 'number of Formosans who had 
something to say as to what happened to Netaji at Taiboku. He- 
met some medical , students, who had heard that Netaji had been 
severely injured as a result of the air crash, ar.d that a Japanese- 
medical student donated blood for transfusion. He also examined 
at length a Formosan nurse, Sister Tsan Pi Sha, who said that she was 
in attendance on Netaji at the Nan m on Military Hospital. She gave- 
correct descriptions of Netaji and Col. Habibur Rehman. In the 
end, she said, that Netaji had, died at the hospital at 11 at night. It 
has already been stated that the Committee had not been able -to 
visit Formosa, much as they would have liked to, on account^ of the- 
fact that there was no diplomatic connection between our Govern- 
ment and the authorities -in Formosa. Mr. Harin Shah’s evidence is,, 
therefore, all the more valuable, as it was taken on the spot, soon 
after the time of the occurrence. He was satisfied on the strength 
of his enquiries that* Netaji had died at Taihoku as a result of the 
air accident. 

10. It will thus be seen that the evidence given by witnesses* 
before us as to Netaji’s death is corroborated by the findings of 
British and American Intelligence organisations who undertook 
independent enquiries very soon after the occurrence, and the con- 
clusions of an unofficial enquiry conducted a year later by an Indian 
journalist. As for the witnesses who have deposed before us, 
neither from their antecedents, noT from the manner in which they 
made their statements, has the Committee any reason to disbelieve 
their stories. These witnesses are of different nationalities. Some 
were Japanese, Col. Habibur Rehman, an Indian (now a Pakistani), 
and Col. .Figgess, an Englishman. They were unconnected with each, 
other and came from different walks of life. There is absolutely 
no reason why they should come and depose to something which 
they know to be untrue. The Japanese witnesses came from all 
over Japan — some of them at much personal loss and inconvenience. 
For instance. Dr. Yoshimi, who owns a medical clinic at Miyasaki- 
ken in Kyushi Island, had to close down his clinic for several days- 
and come to Tokyo, a distance about 1,200 kilometres from his place- 
The Japanese Foreign Office had themselves conducted an enquiry 



. . - ■■■ ~ ™- — *-■ —rr -- 


„ - 35 

.' IntoMhe matte? sometime ago, and suggested the nines of 
soriiie Witnessed' who might give us information. But Japan is hot 
a totalitarian country and. the mere fact that some names were 
suggested by the Japanese Foreign Office need not necessarily mean 
■ that they were compelled to tell ally particular story. It may be 
added that the Committee examined a much larger number of wit- 
nesses than originally suggested by the Japanese Foreign Office. 

^ These witnesses were either called for by the Committee, or they 
themselves volunteered, in response to a newspaper notice, issued 
by the Committee. Most of the Japanese witnesses are not now 
connected with the Government of Japan, and are in no way obliged 
to give evidence according to any particular brief. In fact, as will 
be seen, different witnesses have given different stories, which would 
disprove any suggestion of “promoting". So, notwithstanding discre- 
pancies and variations, which are only too likely after the lapse of 
so many years, the statements of witnesses must be taken as worthy 
of credit. These statements are corroborated by enquiries through 
military and non-official channels soon after the events. They all 
point to the fact that Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose died at Taihoku 
Military Hospital on the night of the 18th'August 1945. We accept 
this conclusion. In a way, the sudden and dramatic death fits in 
with the dynamic character of that -national leader and patriot, 
Subhas Chandra Bose. In General Shidei’s service record, the cause 
of his death is shown as death by war. The same was true of Netaji, 
only in his case it was a different war, the war for the independence 
of India. His war was continuing. He was only changing over from 
' one battle-field to another — from South-East Asia to Manchuria. 

11. Against this mass of evidence that Netaji had died as a result 
of the. plane crash, there are some who hold that he is alive. Those 
who believe this are again divided into two schools. The first, 
mainly consisting of certain members of the Bose family, believe 
that although Netaji is alive, nobody is in touch with him, and for 
reasons of his own, he is in hiding, and will reappear in India at a 
time chosen by him. The best spokesman of this school was Mr. 
Aurobindo Bose. According to him, Netaji was a master planner, 
as he had planned his last escape so well, that nobody could find 
his clues. The Japanese Government helped him to escape, arid they 
have, therefore, put out an elaborate deception story which is sup- 
ported by Japanese witnesses. As for Col. Habibur Rehman, he is 
bound by an oath of secrecy and his injuries are faked. These are 
largely presumptions. As has been stated before, there is a great 
deal of evidence that the plane had crashed and Netaji had died. 
There is no reason to disbelieve the numerous witnesses belonging 
to Japanese and other nations. From medical evidence it appears 
clear that the injuries of Col. Rehman were genuine. If he was . 
under any oath of secrecy, surely the others, particularly the 


] 








32 


v ^iii ar^p^ 


•crash, gradually came to believe it.,--. ., 

7. Not only were the Japanese initially secretive, and delayed in 
publishing the news, but no convincing proof of the death of. Netaji 
was. produced before the Indians in South-East Asia. Some pictures 
were taken two days later after the death, one of which shows Col. 
Habibur \Rehnlan keeping vigil, apd another shows a sheet cover- 
ing . some object. From these photographs (copies in Annexure 
lit the dead person cannot be identified. Dr. Yoshimi has said 
that it was against Japanese custom to photograph dead bodies^ Col. 
Habibur Rehman has said that he did not allow Netaji’s face to be 
photographed as it had swollen, and was disfigured. Neither were 
any of his personal belongings shown as having been recovered at 
that time- There has been a certain amount of controversy about the 
watch Col. Habibur Rehman brought with him, which was later 
handed over by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to the late Mr. Sarat 
Chandra Bose, elder brother of Netaji, It was a rectangular watch. 
Col. Habibur Rehman has stated that it was handed over to him by 
Dr. Yoshimi as belonging -to Netaji, but Dr. Ypshimi said that he 
did not remember anything about it. Most of the pictures of Netaji 
show him wearing a round wrist watch. His personal valet 
Kundan Sfcigh also confirms that he habitually wore a roun^ wrist 
watch. On the other hand, it is. a fact that Netaji carried m his 
baggage a number of watches of different kinds, including rectangu- 
lar ones, which were given to him as gifts on different occasions. 
Some rectangular watches in a damaged condition are in the 
collection of articles salvaged from Taihoku Airfield, now lying in 
the National Museum at Rashtrapati Bhawan, New Delhi, which 
was inspected by the Committee. The point about the watch 
remains inconclusive. It may be stated here that these salvaged 
articles were shown'to Netaji’s valet KundanfSingh, who was with 
Netaji from his arrival in Singapore till his departure from Bang- 
kok on 17th August 1945. Kundan Singh identified a number of 
articles as belonging to Netaji, such as a gold cigarette case studded 
with precious stones' presented by Herr Hitler, a cigarette-lighter, 
a paper-knife used for manicuring, and, an oval supari box made of 
gojd. The question of valuables carried by Netaji will be examined 
later. The point that is being made here is that owing to the 
secrecy, delay in publishing the news, and not bringing forward 
proofs of Netaji’s death by the Japanese authorities, many people 
were led honestly to doubt that Netaji had died. It is probable that 
in normal times such delays and omissions would not have arisen, 
and that things were out of gear after the Japanese surrender on 
the 15th of August 1945. 

8. Soon after the end of hostilities, the Government of- India sent 
two parties of Intelligence officers (police) headed by Messrs. Finney 
and Davies to the Far East to enquire about' the whereabouts 



of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, and if possiblei to. arrest him. Two 
Indian police officers who were in those parties, Mr. H. K. Roy and 
Mr. K. P. De, appeared before us and gave evidence. Mr. H. K. Roy 
worked in Mr. Davies’ party and proceeded first to Saigon, and then 
to Taihoku in September 1945. He says that they interviewed the 
Japanese Military Officer in charge of Saigon Aerodrome, and 
obtained a list of the passengers of the plane. It was the only plane 
which left Saigon, on the 17th August 1945. The last two names in 
that list were Chandra Bose and H. Rehman. At Taihoku, they 
interrogated some officers connected with the aerodrome. They said 
that the plane had crashed on the 18th August, and ca.ught fire, and 
as a result, Netaji who had been badly burnt, was taken to the 
hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries the same night. They 
added that Col. Habibur Rehman had also received injuries, and that 
a number of Japanese officers had been killed or injured. Mr. Davies 
also examined the medical officer in charge of the Hospital, who 
confirmed the death, of Netaji. The conclusion of the police officers 
was that Netaji had died as a result of air crash, and they reported 
to the Government of India accordingly. Mr. H. K. Roy who helped 
Mr. Finney to write the report states that the report was definite 
that Netaji was dead, and thereafter the Government of India with- 
drew the warrant of arrest against Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. 
The Bangkok party seized a telegraphic message conveying the 
information that the plane carrying Nhtaji had crashed at Taipeh, 
on the 18th August, and that Netaji had expired on the same day. 
The telegram in question, Signal 66, dated 20th August, from the 
Chief of Staff, Southern Army, to O.C., Hikari Kikan, is reproduced 
below : 

“To OC KIKAN 

From Chief of Staff, Southern Army, Staff II. 

Signal 66, 20th August. 

‘TOP SECRET’ 


‘T\ while on his way to the capital, as a result of an ac- 
cident to his aircraft at TAIHOKU at 1400 hours on the 
18th was seriously injured and died at midnight on the same 
date. His body has been flown to TOKYO by the Formosan 
Army.** 

*' (Mr. ‘T’ as already stated, was code name for Netaji.) On being 
questioned, the discrepancy about the body was sought to be clari- 
fied by saying that the statement regarding Netaji’s death, and not 
his body, was flown to Tokyo. Col. Tad a was specially brought 
down from Tokyo to Saigon for questioning on this point. A parallel 
enquiry was conducted about the same time at the instance of the 
Director of Military Intelligence, India, or Admiral Lord 


' ' 3 ? . - 

they should tie t^ken cai;e .of, when .they came to Fc rmo^sa . 
second time he said that he felt that .blood was .rushing to his head. 
This is partly corroborated by Lt. Col. Nonogaki who claims to ave 
stood by Netaji’s bed and talked to him. During all this -time, 
Netaji must have been in, very great pain, but not a word of com- 
plaint or groan escaped his lips* His stoic cairn impressed ^ 
Japanese witnesses greatly. J. Nakamura says: “During all this, 
time, not a word of complaint, either of pain or suffering, came 
from his lips. The Japanese officers at the other end - of the room 
W^re groaning with pain, and crying out that .they may be killed 
rather than continue to endure their suffering. This composure of 
Netaji surprised all of us.” , , ■ 

5. Dr. Yoshimi has stated that at about 7 or 7-30 p.m. he was in- 
formed by Dr. Tsuruta that Netaji’s condition had deteriorated and 
his pulse was very weak. He_ hurried and gave Netaji injections of 
Vita-camphor and Digit amine.' In spite of administering stimulants, 
his heart and pulse beat did not improve. Slowly his life ebbed 
away. Shortly after 8 p.m. he breathed his last. He made out a 
medical certificate of death in respect of the deceased, writing his 
name in Japanese (Kata Kana) as “Chandra Bose” and giving the 
cause of death a s “burns of third degree”’ The following persons 
were present at his bedside at the time of Netaji’s death : Dr. r oshimi, 
Dr. Tsuruta, two nurses, Col. Habibur Rehman. Mr. Nakamura (Inter- 
preter), and one Military Policeman. According to Kazo Mitsui, a 
medical orderly, he was also present. According to Dr. Tsuruta, the 
time was about 7 or 8 p.m. Col. Habibur Rehman gave the time as 
; 9 p.m. — six hours after the crash. It may be stated here that. in a 
brief statement made by Dr. Yoshimi in 1946, when he was in Stanley 
Jail in Hong Kong, be gave the time as 11 p.m., and according to the 
telegram sent by the Chief of Staff, Southern Army, to O.C.. Hikari 
Kikan, on the 20th August 1945, which was recovered by British 
Military Intelligence, the death took place at midnight, This was 
repeated in the first publication of the news on the 23rd of August 
1945 by the Japanese Domei Agency. The evidence of the fellow 
injured persons does not help to establish the correct hour. Lt. Col. 
Nonogaki and Major Kono had stated that they were removed to the 
second hospital the same night. Major Takahashi could only say 
that Netaji expired the same night. Only Captain Arai said that 
he heard from a nurse at about 10 p.m. that Netaji had expired. So, 
the time of death cannot be established with accuracy; it could be 
any time between 8 p.m. and midnight on the 18th August 1945- 
6. One of the reasons why many people cast doubt on the fact 
that Netaji was dead, was the manner in which the news was made 
known. For reasons not very clear, the Japanese authorities main- 
tained a great deal of secrecy about it. Presumably, it was partly 
due to reasons of security. Even in their official correspondence 


between one Commander and another, Netaji was referred to by 
.'the Japanese as -Mr, “T”. In the Secret Telegram, dated the 20th 
.August 1945, from the .Chief of ^Southern Army to O.C., Hikari 
-Kikan, it .was definitely .stated that secrecy is to :be maintained. The 
'interpreter, J. Nakamura, says. that the news about Netaji’s death 
■was kept-, a secret and known only to high-ranking Military Officers. 
General -Isayama, Chief of the General Staff, Formosan Army, had 
[tried to justify this hush-hush policy by saying that they did not 
want to make .the -news public, ^hat an important person like 
Netaji, who had taken a prominent part against the British for 
the liberation of India, was fleeing to Tokyo. General Bhonsle says 
that the news about Netaji was promptly communicated to him at 
-Bangkok in a series of telegrams. But^Sardar Ishar Singh, who was 
the Adviser to the Provisional Government of Azad Hind and 
Chairman of the Thai Territorial Committee of the Indian Inde- 
pendence League, says that the news about Netaji’s plane crash and 
death was communicated by Japanese Military authorities three 
or four days after Netaji had left Bangkok, that is to say, on the 
20th or 21st of .August 1945. Those of Netaji’s party who were left 
behind at Saigon did not get any news about him during the time 
they were there, i.e., till the 20th of August, although At was the 
Headquarters of the Southern Army, and a part of the time General 
Isoda was there and in possession of the all important information. 
The news was broken to Mr, S. A. Ayer by Lt. Col. Tada, who was 
flying with him to Tokyo, on the afternoon of the 20th at Canton. 
Mr. Debnath Das and others who went on to Hanoi, learnt of the 
tragedy only from the radio broadcast from Tokyo. It was given 
out on the 23rd Augpst. Then there was the curious incident 
narrated by Mr. Debnath Das that a couple of days later, a Japa- 
nese Staff Officer can?e and told him that the plane crash was just 
a story, and they were not to believe it, but to go on acting accord- 
ing to' their plan. Col. Pritam Singh was told of this by Mr. Deb- 
nath Das. Next month Mr. Debnath Das went underground. There 
were some other persons in Bangkok whom Netaji had already 
instructed, just before he left Bangkok, to go underground and keep 
touch with him by wireless. Some small arms, ammunition and 
wireless transmitter were handed over to two men, Mr. A. C. Das and 
Mr. Sunil Roy. Mr. Das was examined by the Committee at 
Bangkok. He said that when he heard the news of the crash, he 
like others did not believe it. But although Mr. Sunil Roy had the 
wave-length, frequency, call signs, etc., to contact Netaji, he tried 
in vain to contact him. They gave up the attempt after 10 days, 
and believed that the plane had indeed crashed with Netaji. Mr. 
Debnath Das came to the surface in May 1946, in Bangkok, but could 
give no news about Netaji’s continued existence to Mr. A. C. Das. 
So most of those who originally doubted the story of the plane 


severely burnt all over his body, and all of, it had taken on a greyish, 
colour like ash. Even his heart had bums, His face was swollen. 'In. 
my opinion, ] his: buras _ were. of the'-severest type, i.e., of the third 
degree.'. There was no injury on his body from which blood. came- 
out.‘. . His eyes were also swollen.' , He could see, but had difficulty' 
in opening thepi., He, was in his senses when he, was brought in. He- 
was in high fever; his temperature was 39° centigrade. His pulse rate- 
was 120 per minuted The condition of his heart was also weak.” 
Dr. Yoshimi has stated that after examination of Netaji, his impres- 
sion was that his condition was so serious that he was not likely 
to survive till the next morning. He says that Netaji’s burns were- 
caused by splashing of petrol. After examining Netaji and treating* 
him, Dr. Yoshimi examined and treated' the. other injured persons. 
Netaji was not- the only person who received severe bums. W/O 
Ayoagi, the Co-pilot, suffered similar burns over his shoulders. His 
"forearms were also burnt and the legs below his knees were also- 
burnt. All these were caused by splashing of petrol. Major Kono 
had third-degree bums on his hands. Col. Sakai had bums on 'his. 
hands. Only Lt. Col. Nonogaki did not have any bum or injury- 
Dr. Yoshimi has stated that Col. Habibur Rehman had bums on one 
side ,of his face and on his opposite hand- He also had a cut on his- 
right temple. £ 

3. Dr. Yoshimi has given details of the treatment given to Netaji.. 
Initially Netaji’s bums were dressed by Dr. Tsuruta who applied 
a .white ointment and bandaged him all over. Dr. Yoshimi gave for. 
his heart, one after the other, four injections of Vita-camphor and 
two injections of Digitamine. He also gave him three intravenous' 
injections of Ringer-solution, 500 c.c. each. The treatment was given 
initially in the dressing room, and then Netaji was removed to the 
attached ward No. 2 where further treatment was carried on. 
Different witnesses have given different versions of the room in' 
which the initial treatment was given. Dr. Yoshimi has given a- 
sketch plan of the Hospital showing the ward where Netaji lay. 
There is some discrepancy between the witnesses as to- 
who were in the same 'ward with Netaji. According to the two- 
doctors, only Netaji and Col. Habibur Rehman were there. CoL 
Rehman says that a third person, probably a pilot, was also there. 
Sketch plans of the Hospital and Netaji’s ward were also- 
submitted by Dr. Tsuruta and Col. Habibur Rehman. Major 
Takahashi and Major Kono have said that Netaji was in a 
separate room, while Lt. Col. Nonogaki has stated that all 
the injured persons including Netaji were taken to one room,, 
while he himself was in another room. The Interpreter, J. 
Nakamura, has stated that in addition to Netaji and Col. Habibur 
Rehman, there were three other Japanese officers in the same ward. 
After the lapse of years, it would perhaps be unwise to lay too much. 


29 


stress on such minor discrepancies, made by persons, many of whorii 
were themselves seriously injured. It would be more reasonable 
to accept the statement of the two doctors that only Netaji and Col. 
Rehman were kept in one room. Dr. Yoshimi has stated that in the 
case of severe burns of third degree, the blood gets thicker, and 
there is high pressure on the heart. In order to relieve this pressure, 
blood is usually let out and new blood given in its place. Approxi- 
mately 200 c.c. of Netaji’s blood was let out and a blood transfusion 
to the extent -of 400 c.c. was given to him. Dr. Yoshimi has said 
that this blood was obtained from a Japanese soldier in the Nanmon, 
Military Hospital and was given between 4 and 5 p.m. that day/ 
There is a -little difference here between this and the evidence of 
Mr.' Harin Shah, an Indian journalist, who had the chance to enquire 
into this matter locally, in Formosa, in 1946. According to Mr. Shah, 
the blood was donated by a Japanese medical student. A more 
serious discrepancy is the statement ,of Dr. Tsuruta, who attended 
on Netaji, that no blood transfusion was given. Col. Rehman who 
was also in the same ward room could not remember if any blood 
transfusion was given to Netaji. There is no way of reconciling 
these different statements and they must remain as they are. Then 
Sulfonamide injection was also given to Netaji to prevent infection. 
Netaji’s initial reaction to this treatment was favourable. Col. 
Habibur Rehman’s injuries were also treated with ointment and 
disinfectant and bandaged. Thereafter, Dr. Yoshimi left, to attend 
the Japanese injured officers, with instructions to Dr. Tsuruta to 
look after Netaji and give him Vita-camphor injection at 30 minutes’ 
interval. Except the point regarding blood transfusion, Dr. 
Tsuruta’s evidence corroborates that of Dr. Yoshimi’s. As stated 
previously, none of the nurses could be examined. One Kazo Mitsui, 
a medical orderly, at that time at the Nanmon Military Hospital, 
came on his own, and gave evidence and said that he had helped the 
doctor attending on Netaji by bringing medicines, etc. 

4. Netaji was conscious at the beginning, and occasionally asked 
for water, a little of which was given each time. An interpreter 
was called in, so that Netaji could speak to the Japanese personnel 
if he so desired. In addition to the doctors, some nurses, were also 
attending on Netaji. According to Col. Habibur Rehman, Netaji 
was taken to the “operation theatre”, and given a white transfusion 
which he thought was camphor. The Japanese doctors did not refer 
to the operation theatre. In any case, since there was no surgical 
operation, it was not necessary to take him there. Perhaps, Col. 
Habibur Rehman was thinking of the dressing room attached to the 
ward. According to Col. Habibur Rehman, Netaji asked for water 
once or twice, and asked once whether Hasan was there. Accord- 
ing to the Interpreter, Nakamura, Netaji spoke -three times. The 
first time he said that some of his men were following him, and 

55 I & B (3) 



■ 


U. Col. T, Sakai- (1). who was away from Japan As stated 

ly, a written statement was obtained from him throug . . 

Foreign Office. Attempts were made to trace Sergean 

but he was not found. \ - • 

* ■ ■- - •>-- >/•’■ * " • 1, - ^ ^ J ’ ' 

. . ■ ‘ ■ • ■ . ’ 

> *. ' 

‘ * '^v"" , 


/" ‘ '■ 2$bfc;wjjj ■■rr " j . 


CHAPTER ni 


, DEATH 'OF NETAJI SUBHAS CHANDRA BOSE 

* . •:>’ : 

Thus, Netaji was carried along with other injured pertons t o Nanmon 
.Military Hos pita l, -Taihoku. This was a small hospital, and "had four 
.■general wards ^with accommodation for 80 patients, and 15 more in 
the infectious ward. As a precaution against air raids, the main 
^Hospital and its several branches were removed to outer areas. The 
.Nanmon Branch was the only one left in Taihoku city, where 
patients received first-aid treatment before being sent to other 
hospitals. The Medical Officer in charge of this branch was Captain 
T. Yoshimi who had graduated in 1938 and was commissioned in 
1940. There was another doctor, Dr.,T. Tsuruta, who had qualified 
■only in 1944. There was also a third doctor. The other staff consist- 
-ed of half a dozen Japanese and Formosan nurses and 30 medical 
■orderlies. The Committee examined both Dr. Yoshimi and Dr. 
Tsuruta . None of the Japanese nurses could - be traced. A 
.Formosan nurse, Tsan Pi Sha, who had made an important state- 
ment before an Indian journalist, Mr. Harm Shah of Indian Free 
Press Journal , in 1946, could not be examined as the Committee did 
not find it possible to visit Formosa. At 2 p.m. on the 18th August 
1945, Dr. Yoshimi received a telephone message from the Taihoku 
Aerodrome to be ready to receive a number of persons injured in an 
-air accident. Sometime later, a dozen injured persons .including 
■Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose were admitted into the hospital- 
There is some discrepancy between the witnesses, as to who travel- 
led in which vehicles, and who arrived first. But these are minor 
points and may be .overlooked. When Netaji was taken to the hos- 
pital, most of the witnesses have said that he was without any clothes 
■on him, but there are others who say that he came partly covered. A 
Military Officer identified the big-built foreigner as the Indian 
leader Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. His Adjutant, Col. Habibur 
Rehman, was also admitted at the same time. 

2. When he was brought in, Netaji’s condition was the most 
-serious, but such was his magnanimity that he told the doctors to 
.attend to the others first, and to him last. In view, however, of 
his condition, the doctors attended to him first. Eye-witnesses, both 
medical and non -medical, have said that Netaji was burnt all over, 
.and his skin had taken on a dark colour, but none of them mentioned 
•any cut injury. Col. Habibur Rehman has said that ■ Netaji had a 
cut on his head 4 inches long which was bleeding. This is a dis- 
crepancy. • / , 

Netaji was examined by Dr. Yoshimi who says, T found that ! he was 


' 


luimwai 




. 


7 7 




.7 

fctfl&V. 


■ 




' :••• / V - '; ' 

* 24 

■with him, but it is not certain who they were. ‘ Most likely Major 
Takizawa, Chief Pilot, was one. of them. The rest, passengers and 
crew numbering about , a dozen, were removed within a short time 
to Nanmon ‘ (South Gate) Military Hospital which was a few kilo- 
metres away, in motor vehicles, trucks, cars, and a .peculiar vehicle, 
called “Shidosha” in Japanese, which was used for' starting aero- 
plane propellers. . ’ ' ’ 1 

17. Before going on with the story of medical treatment in the 
'hospital, account may conveniently be taken here regarding the air 
crash — whether the crash took place, its cause, and whether there 
could be any survivor. From the evidence given to the Committee, 
there is sufficient material to believe that the plane carrying Netaji 
crashed at Taihoku Airfield early in the afternoon of the 18th August 
1945. There is no reason to disbelieve the large number of witnesses, 
both Japanese and non-Japariese. There is .no evidence before us 
to show that -the plane .in question did not crash at Taihoku. Un- 
fortunately, no formal enquiry into the air crash was carried out by 
the Japanese authorities at that . time. General Isayama, Chief of 
the General Staff of the Formosan Army in 1945, was asked about 
this matter. He first said that since the aeroplane in question did not 
belong to the Formosan Army, the Headquarters of the Formosan 
Army had no responsibility to hold an enquiry into the matter. 
Then he said that it was the duty of the Commander, within whose 
area an air crash took place, to enquire into, and report it to the 
higher authorities. ’He said that in this case, a report was submitted 
to the Imperial General Headquarters by his Staff Officer, Lt. Col. 
Shibuya, through him. Lt. Col. Shibuya, who was also examined, 
denied knowledge of any such enquiry, and said that the responsi- 
bility 'of holding it lay entirely with the Air Division concerned. 
This matter was pursued further by the Committee and a report was 
obtained from the Japanese Foreign Office to confirm that no official 
enquiry was held into the air crash by the Japanese authorities 
(Annexure I). One would have expected a formal enquiry into the 
air crash as. it involved two important personalities like Netaji 
Subhas Chandra Bose and Lt. Gen. Shidei. Perhaps, there was. dis- 
organisation following the surrender of Japan on the 15th of Aug- 
ust. We referred the available evidence regarding the plane, its 
condition and the crash, to the Director General of Civil Aviation, 
Government of India, on our return to Delhi, after placing on record 
the evidence of Japanese witnesses. The Director General of Civil 
Aviation had these papers examined by an expert, and the Commit- 
tee recorded the opinion of Mr. A. M. N. Sastri, an Aircraft Inspec- 
tor, Accidents Investigation Branch, regarding the accident and its 
cause. Shri Sastri's opinion was: 

"From the statement of witnesses, sketches and photographs, it 




25 


appears that the aircraft crashed, and after the take-off, within the 
boundary of the aerodrome. The maximum' height attained by the 
plane' might have, been anything up to 150 feet. The initial cause of 
the plane falling to the ground, according to the statement of wit- 
nesses, is the breaking away of the propeller and then the engine 
on the left-hand side. It is not possible to establish the exact cause 
as io how the propeller came off from the engine from the 
details available. In the absence of details of construction 
of the engine and the various control systems, and the 
maintenance- records, and -without examining the wreckage, it is not 
possible to trace the exact defect causing the crash. As observed by 
Major Kono, one of the witnesses, the engine seems to have been 
defective, and over-speeding at the time of the take-off from Saigon. 
This appears to have something to do with the crash." 

* 

Regarding the effect of the crash and chances of survival, Mr. 
Sastri has said, “Taking into consideration the starting point of the 
fire to oe from the star-board front as stated by Major Kono and the 
location of the petrol tank and also the inadequacy of emergency 
provision, it may be stated that 

(1) those who were in the front could be the worst sufferers; 

(2) those who were in the centre left could be seriously 

\ injured; and 

(3) those who were in the rear could have chances of survival.’'' 
He went on to elucidate: "In case of air accident, the survival of 
passengers or members of the crew is purely a matter of luck. I 
have come across accidents where in major crashes the occupants 
survived, whereas in similar accidents they died. It is very difficult 
to predict anything accurately as far as the survival of passengers in 
an aircraft accident is concerned." 

18. From the evidence given by eye-witnesses and the opinion of 
the expert, it is established that there was an aircraft accident at 
Taihoku on the 18th August 1945 due to some kind of engine trouble, 
the cause of which cannot be established clearly in the absence of 
data. As for survivors, there is nothing surprising that seven out- 
of the 13 or 14 persons- on board the ill-fated plane survived. It is 
not a fact that Col. Habibur Rehman alone survived to tell the tale. 
So far as has been ascertained, the following persons survived: 

(1) Lt. Col. T. Sakai, 

(2) Lt. Col. S. Nonogaki, 

(3) Major T. Kono, > 

(4) Major I. Takahashi, 

(5) Captain K. Arai, 

(6) Sergeant Okishta, and 

(7) Col. Habibur Rehman. 

Of these ' survivors, the Committee could not examine in person 


/ 



( 


- r*3 


V* 


years, f Later on, 


even my nails 


came off. The nail of the left thumb- has '-not come up properly.”-' jj 

(Note.— The members of the Committee' examined the han ^an ^ 
saw. marks of severe bums. Marks of burns were also notice on 
‘ \ the Tight side of the face and just .near the right ear. njury 
. 'marlU 1 Were'' also seen on the forehead and right leg.) 1 

- ; “.When I laid Netaji on the ground, I myself lay by his side. I 
was' feeling acute pain and felt exhausted. I saw a Japanese pas-, 
senger about 20 yards away bleeding profusely and moaning. Just, 
then,. Netaji enquired from me in Hindustani: Aap Ko ZiadaTo- 
Nahin Lagi?-' (Hope you have not been hurt badly.) I replied, I. 
feel' that I will be all right.’ About himself he said that he felt 
that he would not survive. I replied, ‘Oh! No, God will spare- 
. - you. I am sure you will be all right.’ He said, ‘No, I don t think so. 
He used these words:. 

‘When you go back to the country, tell the people that up to. 
the last I have been fighting for the liberatioii of my country; they . 
should continue to struggle, and I am sure India will be free be-, 
fore long. Nobody can keep India in bondage now/- - 

(Jab Apney Mulk Wapis Jayen To Mulki Bhaiyon Ko Batana 
Ki Men Akhri Dam Tak JlfuUc Ki Azadi Key hiyay Larta Raha. 
Hoon; Woh Jange Azadi Ko Jari Rakhen. Hindustan Zaroor Azad: 
Hoga ) Us Ko Koi Gulam Nahin Rakh Sakta.)” 

In a way this was Netaji’s last testament, and very characteris- 
tic of him. It was in keeping with the oath he took to fight for- 
the independence of India till his last breath when he established 
the Provisional "Government of Azad Hind on 21st October 1943. 

15. Lt. Col. Sakai and Captain Arai'do not mention that they 
had seen Netaji immediately after the crash. Lt. Col. Nonogaki 
did. He says, “When I first saw Netaji after the plane crash, he 
was standihg somewhere near the left tip of the left wing of the- 
plane. His clothes were on fire and his Assistant was trying to 
take off his cost. He took off Netaji’s coat quickly but was finding- 
difficulty in taking off .the woollen sweater. Since Netaji was sit- 
ting very near the petrol tank, he was splashed all over with 
petrol. It seemed that all his body was on fire.” Major Kono 
says that he saw Netaji standing very near the plane facing away - 
from it. He was standing erect with, his legs apart and arms 
stretched downwards with .clenched fists. He was completely 
naked and was wearing only his shoes. He did not see any fire . 
on his body. Major Kono goes on to say that while he himself 
was feeling the heat of the flames 30 metres away, Netaji who 
was standing a couple of metres away from them seemed to be obli- - 
vious of the heat. His face did not show any sign of pain. Then 
Col. Habibur Rehman moved him away from the burning plane - 


Major' Takahashi * gives a somewhat 'different version.’ He says 
that he saw Netaji getting out from the left front portion of . the 
plane. His clothes were on fire and he was trying to fake off his_ 
coat. Then he says that' he (Major Takahashi) went up to Netaji 
and made him roll on. the ground and managed to put out the fire 
from his clothes. He says that Col. Habibur Rehman was there, but 
assigns him a passive role. He goes on to say that petrol had 
splashed only on certain parts of Netaji’s clothes and ’ only those 
" patches were burnt. His trousers were' burnt only slightly. While 
other witnesses haye said that Netaji had to take off his clothes and 
was naked, Major Takahashi says that Netaji had his clothes on. 
As for Netaji’s clothes being on fire, all the eye-witnesses who had 
seen him agree. As for who helped to put out the fire, 
it- seems much more likely that Col.' Habibur Rehman should 
have been the man to have come to- the aid of his leader. The 
version given by Col. Habibur Rehman and supported by the two 
more observant witnesses, namely, Lt. Col. Nonogaki and Major 
Kono appears more credible than the version of Major Takahashi. 
The Ground Engineer Captain Nakamura alias Yamamoto has 
given a completely different version. He also says that Netaji’s 
clothes were splashed with petrol and had to be stripped, but he' 
claims that it was he (Captain Nakamura alias Yamamoto) who 
rescued the passengers from the burning plane, and specially 
Netaji. This version is completely uncorroborated ' by anybody 
else, and may perhaps be put down to confused recollection after 
such a lapse of time. 

16. Of the other Japanese inside the plane, passengers and crew, 
General Shidei could not get out and died inside the plane. It may 
be of interest to mention that a copy of General Shidei’s service 
record (translated in English) was obtained through /the Japanese 
Foreign Office, a copy of which is enclosed (Annexure I). It will 
be seen that the date of his death was 18th August 1945 at Taihoku 
Airfield. The cause is given as death by war. His ashes were sent 
.to Tokyo a week later through General Tanaka, Chief of General 
Staff, Burma Army, who passed through Taihoku a week later en 
route to Tokyo with Dr. Ba Maw, President of Burma. Some of the 
crew were apparently rescued. There is some doubt about the fate of 
the two pilots and some of the crew who were initially trapped 
inside the plane. Captain Nakamura alias Yamamoto definitely 
says that Pilot Takizawa and Co-pilot Ayoagi perished along with 
General Shidei, and he helped to bury their entrails and put their 
ashes in three boxes. But Major Kono says that he heard that 
Co-pilot Ayoagi had been pulled out. The two Doctors, Yoshimi 
and Tsuruta, definitely say that they had treated Co-pilot Ayoagi 
who died later in the hospital. From all this it would appear that 
General Shidei died instantaneously. One or two others also died 




' . 7 ' ' ; 7 ' . ' 

down- The .petrol which was so, splashed caught fire. I ran about 
30 metres and, then rolled on the ground and put out the ‘fire; at 
the same time, I also took off my outer garment which had caught 
fire. In this way, I managed to put out the fire that was burning 
on me.” 7 . . '• ' 

It may be mentioned here that Major Kono was under treatment 
for 18 months, and even after the protracted . treatment the skin of . 
bis face looked severely burnt when he appeared before the Com- 
mittee 11 years after. He lost all his teeth and wore false teeth. 

Pour , of the fingers of his right hand, i.e., excepting the thumb, were 
damaged and misshapen, and he could not clinch his right fist:; . The,. - / 
little finger of the left hand was also damaged and ~ he ’could not 
clinch that fist in full. Both his hands were deformed., ; A picture if 
of Major Kono’s pair of hands was taken. They tell their own 1. 7. 
•Story. . . ■■ 

14. Now we come to Col. Habibur Rehman and Netaji Subhas > 
Chandra Bose., An extract from the statement of Col.- . Habibur 
Rehman as to what happened to him and Netaji immediately .after -f; 
the crash is given below in extenso: . .7 7' "v -S- 


‘‘Within a few seconds, the plane crashed on the ground, and • 
.fore-portion of the plane split and caught fire. Netaji turned to- 
wards me. I said, ‘Please get out through the front: there is no 
way in the rear.’ (Augey Say Nikaleay , Pichay Say Rasta Nahin 
Hay). We could not. get through .tfre entrance door as it was all 
blocked and jammed by packages and other things. So Netaji got 
•out through the fire; actually he rushed through the fire. I follow- 
ed him through the same flames. The moment I got out, I saw him 
about 10- yards ahead of me, standing, looking in the opposite 
direction to mine towards the west. His clothes were on fire. I" 
rushed and I experienced great difficulty in unfastening his bush- 
shirt belt. His trousers were not so much on fire and it was not 
necessary to take them off. He was not wearing the sweater. He 
■was wearing khaki drill. I. laid him down on the ground and 
noticed a very deep cut on his head, probably on the left side. His 
face had been scorched by heat and his hair had also caught fire 
and singed. The cut in his head was a long one., about 4 inch, t 
tried to stop his bleeding by handkerchief. As for myself, both 
my hands were very badly burnt. As I came through the fire, 
the right side of my face was burnt and I noticed I had received 
a cut in the forehead which was bleeding and the right side 
of my right knee was also bleeding profusely, as it had hit some 
hard substance. The head cut was caused by hitting the floor as 
the plane crashed. My clothes > did not catch fire. My hands 
were burnt very badly in the attempt to take off Netaji’s clothes. 
Both my hands up to the wrist show marks of deep burning even 


' 

lili i ' 7i i 



-breakage in the rear part of the fuselage may be accepted* There ; 
might have ^ been . breakages and splits elsewhere also. But from a 
study of the photographs of the wreckage (Annexi^re II) it does not. 

; ' appear ^that ±he : ;broken parts got separated, nor is any support .lent 

to the statement of Lt CoL Nonogaki that the two split parts went 

c - - - Jiie.. ' ..i jit f j* m' -i - V - '■ . 




- 


’ t AT. 

' 


' in different directions on the ground. . 

' 13. What happened to, the persons inside. the aeroplane? The 

c '- crash affected different persons differently. Of the seven persons 
£ in the plane who ultimately survived, the Committee has examined 

h'-;' > . in person "five of them,, and read the statement recorded by a sixth, 

rf'- ’ ; Xt. Col. T.* Sakai. Lt. Col. Nonogaki who was in the turret was 
^ the luckiest:* As the plane crashed, he was thrown out to the 

ground almost unh urt. He got up and ran away from the burning 
plane, and took shelter behind a pile of stones, against which the 
wrecked plane ultimately came to a halt, Lt. Col. -Sakai; Major • 
Takahashi and Captain Arai became senseless the moment the plane 
crashed, but found themselves soon after on the ground, and moved 
away from the burning plane. Clearly, they had been thrown out. 
In the process, they received injuries and burns. Lt. CoL £akai 
■ - ■ . , .stated that he received bruises on his head and some other parts, 

r- ' and burns on his face and hands, but they were not serious. Major 

v ; Tak aha shi’s left ankle was sprained. Injuries of Captain Arai were 
> /,. more serious. The right side of his face, the upper side of. both his 

hands and the front portion of his forearm got burnt. Marks of 
these bums were still visible when, he appeared before the Com- 
mittee 11 years later. Major Kono was clearly an' alert and, 
observant person. At the moment of crash, instead of being fluster- 
ed, he had his wits about him. and noticed what others were doing. 1 
■He says, “As the plane was falling to the ground, the petrol tank 
inside the plane fell down, and came between me and ifrr. Bose. I 
looked backwards but could not See Mr. Bose because of this tank. 

I could see General Shidei after the plane crash. He had a cut 
injury at the back of his head. Major Takizawa was hit in the face 
and on forehead by the steering which he was operating. N.C.O. 
Ayoagi was hit in the chest which was bleeding, and he was leaning 
forward. There was another engineer between me and N.C.O. 
Ayoagi. I dornot know what happened to him. During this time' 
the fire spread greatly and the heat became unbearable. I broke 
open the plastic cover on top of the plane and escaped through it. 
While escaping, the fire was so strong that I had to protect my eyes 
by covering them with my hands which, as a result, got burnt, and , - 
my face and legs were also burnt. As I was escaping from the plane, I 
got splashed by petrol which was coming out from a pipe which 
connected fbe petrol tank with the engine which had been brought 


fit 


$ 






• • ' •• . 

Takizawa- After being adjusted, I. satisfied myself that the condi- 
tion of the engine, was all right.- Major Takizawa -also agreed with 
me .that there was nothing wrong with the engine.” ^ 

\ ' 10 . Thereafter, all the passengers, after having had their rest and 
luiich, took their seats again in the plane in the same order of seating - 
as before, that is to say, with the crew in the nose of the plane,. 
Major Kono sitting behind the pilot on the port side, behind frhem 
Netaji and Col. Habibur Rehman, on the star-board side General 
Shidei. and in the rear portion the other Japanese officers. Although 
the engines had been tested, the take-off from Taihoku was .not quite 
normal. ‘The best account of the take-off has been given by Captain 
Nakamura alias Yamamoto, who was a Ground Engineer, and who 
was watching the plane- The other passengers inside the bomber 
could not see very much, as there were very few openings. There 
is some difference between the witnesses as to the actual time of the 
takirig-off, but most of them put the time between 2 and 2-30 in the 
afternoon. Captain Nakamura alias Yamamoto says, “After every- 
body had taken seat in the plane, the plane taxied to one end of the 
runway. Having reached the point, the engines of the plane speeded 


up to the maximum speed, and then slowed down. -This ^vas a 
normal procedure which all Japanese planes followed to test the- 
fitness of the engines. Having satisfied that the engines were correct, 
the plane was speeded and allowed to run down the runway. The 
length of the runway was 890 metres. In the case of heavy bom- 
bers, normally the tail gets lifted half-way down the runway but 
in this case, the tail was not lifted off the ground until it had run 
approximately 3/4ths do\£n the runway. At that time I was standing 
at a point which was about 30 metres away from the air-strip. About 
50 metres before the end of the runway, the plane took off and made 
a steep ascent.” The plane had carried the distinguished leader of 
the Indian Independence Movement and his fellow-passengers, from 
Saigon to Tourane, and from Tourane to Formosa over the South 
China Sea in safety, and nobody had any idea that disaster would 
overtake the plane without warning and so soon after leaving - 
Taihoku Airfield. 

11. Hardly had the plane got airborne, when a loud explosion 
was heard, and the plane tilted to the left. Col. Habibur Rehman 
has said that it was a noise like a cannon shot. The propeller and 
the port engine fell out. Captain Nakamura alias Yamamoto who 
was watching says, “Immediately on taking off, the plane tilted to 
its left side and I saw something fall down from the plane, which I 
later found was the propeller.” Major K. Sakai who came to the 
scene sometime later says that he found the port engine buried 
in the ground. The Pilot Major Takizawa and the Co-pilot /Ayoagi 
made desperate attempts to save the situation but without success. 
The list could not be rectified within the short height that the 


plane had > gained: Witnesses inside the plane have given different^ 
estimates of the height, but rnost of them say that the maximum 
height gained was about 30 metres. Captain Nakamura alias Yama- 
moto, who had the best view, has estimated the height between 30 
to 40 metres. Mr. A. M. N. Sastri, an Aircraft Inspector of the 
Directorate General of Civil Aviation, Government of India, has said, 
in answer to a question, that considering that the aircraft left the 
ground 50 metres before the end of the runway and started climbing, 
the figure. of 30 to 40 metres given by witness Captain Nakamura 
alias Yamamoto appeared to him to be reasonable. The plane nose- 
dived, making a wailing noise. The passengers inside the plane had 
not even seat-belts and naturally lost their balance. The baggage 
came tumbling down. Col. Habibur Rehman has said that he was 
struck in the back by some of the packages. Captain Arai has 
graphically described his feelings by saying that the earth was 
rushing towards him. Major Kono had the presence of mind to try 
and switch Off the ignition to prevent the plane from catching fire, 
but failed to do so as he could not keep his balance. He fell two 
or three times in the attempt. The plane crashed to the ground 
and immediately caught fire in the front portion. According to 
Mr. A. M. N. Sastri, it would take only 3 seconds to fall from a 
height of 50 metres. Some witnesses, like Lt. Col. Nonogaki, have 
stated that the plane crashed on the concrete runway; on the other 
extreme. Col. Habibur Rehman has said that the crash took place 
one or two miles outside the aerodrome. The most credible version 
is probably that of the Ground Engineer, Captain Nakamura alias 
Yamamoto, who says that the plane crashed about 100 metres 
beyond the concrete runway. His version is supported by Major 
Sakai who was in command of defence of Taihoku Aerodrome. He 
says that he saw the wreckage of the plane lying 20 to 30 metres 
from the end of the runway. One of the passengers, Major 
Takahashi,* also says that the crash took place just outside the con- 
crete runway, but within the boundary of the aerodrome. 

12. As the plane came down on its nose, it crashed on its left 
side and caught fire in its front portion. It appears from the state- 
ment of witnesses that the plane also suffered severe damage, and 
broke into two. Captain Arai, Lt. Col, Nonogaki and Major Kono 
have stated that on crashing the plane broke into two. They have 
illustrated the point at which the plane broke into two by supply- 
ing sketches of the plane. Major Sakai who came to the scene 
immediately after the accident and saw the wreckage of the plane 
also supports this version. On the other hand, according to Col. 
Habibur Rehman, the plane split in the front portion, while Capt- 
Nakamura alias Yamamoto is positive that the plane was intact and 
the body was not broken. He, however, says that the fire was con- 
fined to the front part of the plane. It is likely that the plane, on 





f 


• > 1 


) ' ' ‘ 16 

Shidei and Col. 'Habibur. Rehman and the fact ** 

* crew were in the nose and the other officers at the bac • . r 

however, some discrepancies as to the number of the crew, some say 
it was'; four, : others say it was five. . Therd is, however, ® n P . . v. 
difference regarding Major Kono.- According to °- . 

Rehman and Captain Aral,' Major Kono was in the rear, _ u &}or • 
' Kono says that he sat' ahead of Netaji and talked to him urmg e- 

flight. ; C61.T, Nonogaki . also confirms this position. In t e , 

written statement, dated 24-8-1945, by - Col. Habibur Rehman, w/nc 
was handed over to the Committee by Mr. J. Murti, it was • 

stated that there was a. Japan ese#officer. sitting between the P 
and Netaji. So it seems more or. less certain that Major Kono was 

sitting in the front of the plane. * ’ 

7. The plane .took off quite well from Saigon Airfield in the after- 
noon of the 17th August. There is some difference about the exact 

' time, but most witnesses say that the plane took off between 5 and 
5-30 p.m. As there was delay in starting, the Pilot decided to halt 
for the night at Tourane on the Indo-China coast, instead of flying . 
straight .to Formosa- Tourane was reached safely in a couple of hours. 
There Netaji and the other officers spent the night at the largest 
hotel in the town. Although the witnesses examined by the Com- 
mittee could not give the name of the hotel, there is reason to 
believe that the hotel in question was Hotel Morin which the_ 
Comxnittee visited during their trip to the Far East. While taking 
off at Saigon, the plane had to run the entire length of the runway 
before it was airborne. This showed that it was overloaded. While 
the others rested at Tourane, the Chief Pilot, v assisted by Major 
Kono, both Air Force Officers, were busy making the plane lighter. 
According .to Major Kono, no fewer than T2 anti-aircraft machine- 
guns, and all the ammunition were taken down from the plane. 
Some surplus luggage was also discarded, and the total weight 
reduced by, 600 kilos. Thereafter these officers attended to the main- 
tenance of the plane and satisfied themselves that everything was 
correct. 

8. An early start was made next morning (18th August) at about 
5 a.m. when the sun was rising. The passengers and crew took their 
seats in the same order as before. The plane was to follow the 
route: Saigon— Tourane — Heito (Formosa) — Taihoku (Formosa) — 
Dairen (Manchuria) — Tokyo. According to Major Takahashi, the 
normal route for aeroplanes at that time was to proceed to Tokyo 
via Dairen (Manchuria). The plane was much lighter and the 

. take-off was very normal. During the flight from Tourane to 
Heito, the weather was perfect and the engines worked 
smoothly. The plane was flying at an altitude of about 
12,000 ft. and it was quite cold inside the plane. "'As the weather was 
favourable, it was decided to cover some more distance, pass over 


-17 




Ws. ?*% '- 


’Heito, and land at Taihoku which is the Japanese name for Taipeh, 
capital of Formosa, According to Major Kono, during the flight, 
information was received that the Russians had occupied Port Arthur/ 
It was feared that they might be in Dairen before long, and it became* 
all the more necessary, to reach there as quickly as possible. The 
plane landed safely and smoothly at Taihoku Airfield sometime in 
the afternoon. The landing time^-has been stated by different wit- 
nesses to be between 11 a.m, and 2 p.m. 

' 9. On landing; ♦everybody got down from the plane and walked 

to a nearby tent, rested there, and had light lunch of sandwiches and 
bananas. The tent had been pitched for a 4 Japanese prince who was 
expected to pass through Taihoku. The prince was carrying orders 
from the Emperor to various Army Commanders to surrender. As 
the plane had been flying high, Col. Habibur Rehman was feeling 
cold, and on landing* changed into warm serge uniform of bush-coat, 
breeches and top-boots. He asked Netaji* who said that he did not 
\ cold. All the same, Cob Habibur Rehman handed him a pull- 
over. It is not clear whether Netaji did put on the warm pullover 
or not- Different witir sses have given the time of halt at Taihoku 
Airfield from half an hour to two hours. During this time, the plane 
was re-fuelled. The engines of the plane were also tested and 
checked. This was done by the Chief Pilot Major Takizawa* helped 
by Major Kono and the ground staff of the aerodrome, beaded by 
Captain Nakamura alios Yamamoto. As the state of the engine has 
an important bearing on the subsequent crash, it might be worth- 
while to quote the relevant portions from the statements of Major 
Kono and Captain Nakamura alias Yamamoto. Major Kono says, 

% Mr. Takizawa tested it inside, and I tested it from outside- I noticed 
that the engine of the left side of the plane was not functioning 
properly, L therefore, went inside the plane and after examining the 
-engine inside, I found it to be working all right. . * , An engineer 
also accompanies the plane- He was accompanying it on this occasion 
also. I do not remember his name. He also tested the engine and 
-certified its airworthiness-” Captain Nakamura alias Yamamoto 
who was the Ground Engineer in charge of maintenance at Taihoku 
. Aerodrome says* “At about 1-20 p.m. Major Takizawa and Co-pilot 
Ayoagi got into the plane and tested it. I was standing just in front 
of the plane. When they started the engine, I found that one of 
them was defective- I raised my hand to indicate to him (Major 
Takizawa) that the engine of the left side was defective. On my 
signal indicating that the. engine was defective* Major Takizawa 
leaned out to listen to me, I told him that the left engine was 
defective, and should be put right. Major Takizawa slowed down 
the engine and told me that it was a brand new engine which had 
been replaced at Saigon, After slowing down the engine, he adjust* 
ed it for about 5 minutes. The engine was tested twice by Major 



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Sit;. 


14 


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them. The ; plane' was already overloaded, and there were protests 
against loading it any ' more, \ In spite of this, the heavy treasure 
boxes were loaded into the plane. Among the Japanese passengers 
was a 'distinguished Military^ Officer,' Lt Gen. Shidei, lately Chief 
of the General Staff of the Burma Army, who was proceeding .to 
Manchuria as Chief of Staff, of the Kwantung Army. General 
Shidei came out of the plane and greeted Netaji. Although there 
was an element of chance in Netaji’s travelling by the seme plane , 
as General' Shidei, it appears that Netaji' fell in with the idea that 
he should go up to Dairen (Manchuria) with General Shidei. Mr. 
Negishi, at that time an Interpreter attached to, Netaji’s Headquarters, 
says,' “General Shidei was supposed to be an expert on Russian 
affairs in the Japanese army, and was considered to be a key man 
for negotiations with Russia. It was suggested that Netaji should 
accompany him to Manchuria.” It may be mentioned here that 
before he took up .the job of Interpreter, he was working in the 
important firm of Mitusbishi, and is now the head of that firm in 
-India' Lt. Col. Nonogaki, . an Air Staff Officer of the Japanese 
Army, says,' “The plane was scheduled to carry General Shidei. 
to Manchuria. Netaji agreed to go with him to Dairen . in 
Manchuria. So there was no change in the schedule of the plane.” 
The plane itself was a twin-engined heavy bomber of 97-2 jBally) 
type, and belonged to the Third Air Force Amy stationed at 
Singapore. There is divergence of opinion on whether it was a new 
or an old plane. According to Captain Aral and Major Kono, the 
plane was of the newest type. General Isoda goes so far as to say 
that it was a brand new one. But Lt. Col. Nonogaki has stated that 
it was an old plane.. General Isayama says that the engine of the 
plane, was worn out, . It is unlikely that the plane was a brand new 
one. The Ground Engineer Captain Nakamura alias Yamamoto has 
stated that, while testing the engine at Taihoku, the Chief Pilot 
Major'Takizawa had told him that the port engine had been replaced , 
by a brand new one at Saigon. A brand new plane would not 
require the replacement of an engine. 

5. Besides General Shidei, the plane was carrying five other 


Japanese military officers as passengers. These were: « 

Lt. Col- Tadeo Sakai, a Staff Officer of the Burma Army- 
Lt. Col. Shiro Nonogaki, an Air Staff Officer. 

Major Taro Kono, an Air Staffs Officer. 

Major Ihaho Takahashi, a Staff Officer. ■ ' 

Capt. Keikichi Arai, an Air Force Engineer. 

Lt. Col. Sakai is now in Formosa on a special mission. The others 
are now civilians. Lt Col. Nonogaki iS now the Branch Manager 
at Osaka of the firm of Tokyo Kagyo Byoeki Shokai Ltd. Major 
Kono has his printing business in Tokyo. Major Takahashi lives at 
Kanagawa city in Zushi prefect ion. ' Captain Arai is a lecturer at 





the Tokyo and Kieo Universities. The crew consisted of five or ijix 
persons: . v 

Chief Pilot— Major Takizawa, 

Co-pilot— W/O 'Ayoagi, 

Navigator — Sergeant Okishta, ■ 

• Radial-Operator — N%C.O. Tominaga, 

and one" or two engineers, whose names have not come out;--. In- 
cluding Netaji and his Adjutant, Col. Habibur Rehrnan, the plane 
carried 13 or 14 persons in all, Netaji was im uniform wearing a 
khaki drill bush-shirt, trousers and shoes, with I.N.A. cap and 
badges. He -bade good-bye. to all^those who had come to see him, 
and shook hands with them, telling them that they would meet him 
soon. After that, he boarded the plane through an entrance on the 
port side followed by Col. Habibur Rehrnan r That was the last 
time his faithful followers, whom he left behind, saw him. 

6. At the instance -of General Shidei, Lt. Col- Nonogaki made 
arrangements for the seating of the passengers. As there were ho 
proper seats, passengers had to squat on the floor, Netaji being pro- 
vided with a cushion. General Shidei, Netaji and Col. Habibur 
Rehrnan were given the best seats. General Shidei took the seat 
usually occupied by the Co-pilot. The crew were in the nose of 
the plane, while the other military passengers took their seats in 
the rear of the plane. Col. Habibur Rehrnan has : given a detailed 
description of the seating arrangements, which is reproduced below, 
and has illustrated it by sketch: 


“The number of occupants in the plane including the crew was 12 
or 13. In the nose portion of the plane were probably a Co-pilot, a 
Radio Officer and Navigator. The seat of the Pilot was behind them 
on the port side,' and opposite to him on the star-board side was 
sitting Lt. Gen. Shidei. Immediately behind the Pilot was sitting 
Netaji, and nobody opposite to him, as the space was restricted by 
the petrol tanks. I was sitting immediately behind Netaji. The Co- 
pilot’s seat -occupied by Lt. Gen. Shidei was offered to Netaji but 
he did not accept, as it was too small for him. In the turret was 
standing one officer of the Air Force, and in the rear portion pro- 
bably- 4 other officers of the Japanese Air Force or Army. I do not 
exactly remember their ranks, except the names of one Lt. Col. 
Nonogaki and of Capt. Arai whom I met later, after the crash, in the 
hospital.” 


The Committee has examined four of Col. Habibur Rehman’s 
fellow-passengers, namely, Lt. Col. Nonogaki, Major Kono, Major 
Takahashi and Captain Arai. Regarding seating arrangements, the 
versions of the different witnesses tally to a great extent They all 
say the same thing about the relative positions of Netaji, General 




‘ r 7t "■•-Vf-; 


the plane The two large suit-cases contained gold ornaments nd 
other valuables — more will be heard of them later* & P 31 Y 

travelled in two aeroplanes and arrived safely at Saigon. _f re 1 ® 
some variation in the time of arrival at Saigon as given by _ eren 
witnesses* Shri Debnath Das says that they arrived at 8 A*M*, 
whereas, according to CoL Habibur Rehman, the time of amva was 
10 a.m,, which is also the time mentioned by Mr, S. A. Ayer. rom 
the aerodrome, the party drove into the town, and took res ^ m o 
houses belonging to an Indian gentleman,' Mr* Chotir MaL ereas 
in Bangkok, important witnesses were available, unfortunately at 
Saigon, most of the Indians, who were active in Netaji s time, were 
no longer there. One alleged eye-witness was an Indian darwan, 
Ramneo Gosai. He said that Netaji came to the bungalow, 
accompanied only by two Japanese officers and left hurriedly ter 
having lunch. The statement of this witness may be ascribed to 
failing memory after eleven years. One Mr. Narain Das, then o t e . 
Indian Independence League, Saigon, and now of Tangier, has sai 
that Ramneo told him the same story* Against his testimony, wet- 
have the evidence of the much more reliable persons who aceompanie * 
Netaji to Saigon. This witness also said that Messrs. Ayer and 
Chatterjee left that bungalow in Saigon only two days f before 
Netaji*s arrival, and that Netaji was enquiring about them. In point 
of fact, Mr. Ayer was actually accompanying Netaji. 

3. At Saigon, however, the arrangements did not work according 
to expectation. No special plane was available to carry Netaji and 
his party. F-M. Terauchi’s Headquarters had been informed before- 
hand by the Hikari Kikan of Netaji’s pending arrival at Saigon. 
Col. Yano who was on the staff of the Southern Army has stated 
that F.M. Terauchi had decided that Netaji should reach Tokyo as 
soon as possible, but owing to difficulty in obtaining passages by 
aeroplane, Netaji alone should go. The Headquarters of Southern 
Army at that time was located at Dalat, a short distance from Saigon, 
and there were officers posted at Saigon to carry out the orders of 
the Headquarters, The actual arrangements for transport by air were 
being made by Lt* Col. Kojima, while Lt. CoL Tada, a Staff Officer 
from the Headquarters, Southern Army, who usually dealt with the 
Hikari Kikan, met Netajfls party which included General Isoda. 
Lt. Col. Tada informed General Isoda that only one seat was available 
for Netaji in a plane that was leaving Saigon very soon the same 
day. General Isoda was naturally annoyed, and proceeded at once 
to Dalat to speak to F.M. Terauchi. On arrival at Dalat Airport, 
General Isoda was informed by Col. Yano that it was no use seeing 
the Field Marshal, but he advised him to wait a little at the 
aerodrome. In point of fact, the Headquarters was in a state of 
confusion following the Japanese surrender three days earlier. 
Soon afterwards, General Numata, Chief of General Staff of the 


Isoda 
notice of the 

that of Netaji would be available 
With this assurance General Isoda returned to 
he was again met by Lt. Col, Tada, who gave him 
information that the final decision was that, only one 
Netaji s would be available. When the first proposal 
seat was broached/ Netaji turned it down flat. He insisted 
entire party of his officers and Advisers should go with him. There 
was a lot of discussion on this subject between Netaji and his 
Advisers on the one hand, and the Japanese officers on the other. 
His Advisers thought that Netaji should not go all by himself* 
According to Mr, Debnath Das, who was an Adviser in the 
Provisional Government of Azad Hind, : the Japanese officers had 
said that Saigon was no longer safe on account of Allied and insur- 
gent activities, and, therefore, ■ Netaji should move on as quickly as 
possible. When the second offer of two seats was made, there were 
further discussions. During the course of these discussions, accord— 
ing to CoL Pritarn Singh of the I.N.A., the_ Japanese gave out that 
as the Allied Forces had restricted the flights of their planes after 
surrender, they could not be sure whether aeroplanes would bfc 
available in the future, and advised Netaji to accept the two seats 
offered. In the end, Netaji reluctantly agreed to accept these two 
seats, but on condition that those who were left behind were provided 
with transport on the following day. General Isoda promised to 
do his best. 

4. Netaji selected Col. Habibur Rehman to accompany him. His 
choice was apparently approved of by the rest of his party f as he was 
a Senior Staff Officer, and had been in close touch with Netaji for 
a long time. This has been mentioned by Col. Pritarn Singh and 
Col- Gulzara Singh of the I N. A. Netaji still did not give up hope 
of getting more seats in the plane. He told all members of his 
party to pack up their kit, and come with him to the aerodrome to 
try their luck. On arrival at Saigon Airport, however, the party 
was disappointed, as only two seats were available. NetajLs baggage 
was unloaded from his car. The Chief Pilot said That the baggage 
was too heavy, and could not be put on the plane, as it was already 
overloaded. Consequently, Netaji himself discarded a part of his 
baggage containing books, clothes, etc. The party came to the aero- 
drome in two cars. Netaji came in the first car. While all these 
arguments and arrangements were being made, the plane was wait- 
ing at the aerodrome. There were a number of Japanese officers 
who were to go in the same plane. The Japanese were very im- 
patient to start, but this was delayed for about half an hour or so 
for the arrival of the second car. This car carried two leather suit 
cases containing jewellery, etc., and Netaji refused to move without 


55 I & B (2) 



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4 r- --ijSff- . h ■■"■■■■< ■ . -V'- ■ - a- ■ - . . • » 

10 

Russia. I promised to give all the help that I could 
give . to .'Netaji. . Eventually,, the plan that was finally settled 
was that Netaj i would first go to Tokyo, thank the Japanese Govern- 
ment for all the assistance that they had given him . . and then 
proceed’ to Russia ma Manchuria.” , - 

*7. **There was no time then to contact Russian authorities or to 
make” out' detailed plans ahead. Russia was at war with Japan, and 
the Russian armies were advancing into Manchuria. ‘ Even if Netaji 
” reached Manchuria, what would happen to him and the few trusted 
lieutenants, whom he wanted to take with him, was uncertain. All 
that he could hope was that they ■ would be taken prisoners first, 
establish their bona fides as fighters for India’s freedom, and later 
on secure Russian assistance for their objective. The details were 
uncertain; the purpose was fixed. Netaji himself described his last 
journey as “an adventure into the unknown”. He chose Col. Habibur 
Rehman, Major Abid Hasan, Col. Gulzara Singh and Col. Pritam 
'Singh, Mr. Debnath Das and Mr. S. A. Ayer to accompany him, but 
they were not told where he was going. They all knew vaguely • 
that they were going to Manchuria. General Bhonsle, Chief cff the 
General Staff, who was left behind by Netaji in charge of the INA., 
says, “On the eve of his departure, I enquired from Netaji Whether 
he had been able to decide where he would make for finally, after 
his discussions with the Japanese Government, and his reply was 
that he was hoping to go to Russia, but that he would talk over the 
matter further with the Japanese Government.” At Saigon, almost 
by chance, Netaji was met by Lt. General Shidei, who was proceed- 
ing as Chief of Staff of the Kwantung Army in Manchuria. General 
Shidei was a leading Japanese expert on matters Russian. Accord- 
ing to Mr. Negishi, who was with the party up to Saigon, it was 
suggested that Netaji should accompany General Shidei to Manchu- 
ria, and he apparently fell in with the suggestion. The plane was 
proceeding to Tokyo by the following route: Saigon — Heito— 
Taihoku (Formosa) — Dairen (Manchuria) — Tokyo. A little element 
of doubt remained whether Netaji would proceed by the same plane 
to Tokyo or break’ the journey at Dairen. Japan had surrendered. 
There was profound depression, and the elaborate machinery cf 
Government was running down. Netaji was flying two days after 
surrender for an uncertain destination. It was indeed a leap in the 
dark. From this leap he Hid not return. 


0 : 



' .. -- v- ■ 

CHAPTER n 

AIR CRASH AT TAIHOKU (FORMOSA) 

* - *r / > f ? H V " 

In pursuance of 'his plan, Netaji was moving out of South-East Asia. 
He left 'Singapore on- the morning of 16th August 1945, with Col. 
Habibur ‘Rehman, Col. Pritam Singh, Mr. S. A. Ayer and 
Mr. Negishi, the Japanese Interpreter, and arrived at Bangkok, the 
same afternoon. It was arranged that Messrs. Thivy, Chatterjee 
and Raghavan would follow him. At Bangkok he held meetings 
with his Ministers, Military Advisers, leading members of the 
Indian Independence League, and made last-minute dispositions. 


General Bhonsle was to be left in command of the Indian National 
Army, and a Committee consisting of Sardar Ishar Singh, Pandit 
Raghunath Sharma and Shri Permanand was to look after the affairs 
of the League at Bangkok. Large donations were made to the 
Chulalongkorn Hospital and University, the Indian Association, 
Bangkok, and the Thai-Bharat Cultural Lodge, and all officers and 
men were sanctioned two or three months' pay. A small number 
of Civil and Military Advisers and officers were selected by Netaji 
to accompany him. These were: 

Col. Habibur Rehman, 

Major Abid Hasan, 

Col. Pritam Singh, 

Col. Gulzara Singh, 

Mr. Debnath Das, and 
Mr. S- A. Ayer. 

The movement plan was as usual discussed with General Isoda, 
Chief of the Japanese Liaison Mission (Hikari Kikan). The latter 
arranged for two aeroplanes to take the party to Saigon. Saigon 
was the- Headquarters of the Southern Army commanded by Field 
Marshal Count Terauchi, who was in overall command of all 
Japanese forces in South-East Asia. Arrangements for transport 
beyond Saigon were to be made by the Headquarters of that 
Command. . 


2. On the morning of the 17th August (slightly different times 
are given by different witnesses) Netaji and his party arrived at 
Bangkok Aerodrome. They were seen off by a large number of 
officers and leaders of the Indian National Army and Indian 
Independence League. General Isoda of the Hikari Kikan, Mr. 
Hachiya, the Japanese Envoy to the Provisional Government of Azad 
Hind, and Mr. Negishi (Interpreter) also accompanied Netaji up to 
Saigon. In addition to Netaji’s personal kit packed in three or four 
suit-cases, two large suit-cases about 36" long were also put on board 


■■■■■■■I 

. - 1 * 

R 

- ° 

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• L ;V > ■" --' « . 


- that time British forces had broken through at Mei a 
Rangoon’ 'was lost. : Netaji ’ stayed at Rangoon as long ® s P°| s ’ ■. 
and moved out only at the last moment on the 24th Apr ■ , 

. retreated to 'Bangkok, arriving there on the 14th of a ^‘ 
chapter of retreat which began at Imphai in June 1944 en a 
Bangkok in May 1945; This was the second chapter of the lsx.a. 
story.' The third chapter was brief. From Netaji* 8 arm a m 
Bangkok on* the" 14th May, to his flight from Saigon on the (. a 
August, .there were barely three months. To go back to the approve 
plan, before it could be given effect to, Netaji moved to Singapore, 
especially to broadcast a series of talks to India, not to accep . e 
terms offered by the Viceroy, Lord Wavell. Even at that time, 
Netaji and his Advisers calculated that there would be at least six 
months’ interval between the collapse of Germany, and the eventua 
surrender of Japan. It was hoped that by that time, the ea 
quarters would be shifted somewhere farther east, and some contact 
made with the Russians. But Russia declared war on Japan on 
August 9th and atom bombs were dropped by Americans on the 
Japanese mainland. All calculations were thus upset and Japan 
surrendered on the 15th August 1945. - 

5. Mr. S. A. Ayer iri- Chapter V of his book Unto Him Witness / 

has vividly described the rush and turmoil of those days. Nhtaji 
was on a visit to Seramban in Malaya. On the 12th of -August, 
Dr. Lakshmayya and Mr. Ganapathy of the Indian Independence 
League Headquarters rushed up in a car, and gave him the shatter- 
ing news that Japan had surrendered. Netaji received this news in 
a calm and even carefree manner, typical of him. To quote Mr. 
Ayer’s words, “He first broke into a smile, and almost his first 
words were: ‘So that is that. Now, what next?’ It was the soldier 
speaking. He was already thinking of the next move and the next , 
battle. He was not going to be beaten. Japan’s surrender was ( not 
India’s surrender.” Netaji returned to Singapore immediately and 
held a non-stop series of conferences, night and day, with his Advi- 
sers and officers. Against their advice, Netaji was determined to 
remain behind and surrender at Singapore with his troops. But on 
the 14th evening they were joined by Mr. A. N. Sarkar, a Member 
of the Provisional Government of Azad Hind, who arrived from 
Bangkok with words from General Isoda, Chief of the Hikari Kikan 
and Mr. Hachiya, Japanese Minister to the Provisional Government 
of Azad Hind. Mr. Sarkar told Netaji that Messrs. Isoda , and 
Hachiya were anxious to help him to get away from Malaya and 
Thailand to farther east, so that he would not fall into the hands 
■of the Anglo-Americans. At last Netaji was persuaded not to re- 
main behind at Singapore, and to proceed east- The final decision i 
was, to quote Mr. Ayer, “Out of Malaya definitely, to some Russian 
"territory certainly, to Russia fitselfi, if possible.” There 



9 


■ 

were- reasons why Netaji should go to Tokyo at that time. There was 
the pressing : question whether the I-N.A. should surrender as part 
of the J apanese forces, or as a separate army. Netaji and his Advisers 
were anxious that .there should be an independent surrender, as the 
I.N.A. represented an independent State. The Japanese Commander 
in Singapore could not give an answer as he had no instructions. 
Probably, the authorities in Tokyo' only could give a definite answer. 
Mr. N., Kitazawa, a member of the House of Representatives, Japan, 

- was examined by the Committee. During the war, he was a Coun- 
sellor attached to the Japanese Embassy in Rangoon. He has stated 
that a week before the surrender, the Japanese Government com- 
municated to all Heads of States who were allied with them that 
they would be prepared to give them shelter in Japan. Accordingly, 
President Laurel of Philippines, Dr. Bs Maw of Burma, arid Mr. 
Chenkun Pao, Head of the Chinese Government in Nanking, took 
refuge in Japan. So far as Mr. Kitazawa knew, this offer was com- 
municated to Netaji by Mr. Hachiya. It is not certain whether 
Netaji accepted the offer because Netaji’s concern throughout had 
_ been the continuance of his struggle, without any thought of 
personal safety. Mr. Kunizuka of the Hikari Kikan, who was attach- 
ed to Netaji throughout the period, has stated that Netaji was not 
in favour of taking shelter in Japan, as Japan was a small country, 
and the Occupation Forces would be there soon. Perhaps, Netaji 
accepted it only as a gesture of courtesy. 

6. On the 16th August Netaji came to Bangkok. Mr, Hachiya, 
the Japanese Minister to the Provisional Government of Azad Hind, 
met him and delivered to him a message which conveyed the deci- 
sion of the Japanese Government to surrender. It thanked Netaji 
for the co-operation extended to them in the prosecution of war. 
The message also contained an offer from the Government of Japan 
to be of any assistance to him. Mr. Hachiya says that Netaji told 
hmr that the Government of Japan having surrendered uncondi- 
tionally, they would not be in a position to afford any protection 
to him. He was, therefore, more inclined to contact Russia. About 
this, however, the local authorities at Bangkok could not give much 
help. All they could do was to carry him to Saigon, and discuss 
and take orders from Field Marshal Count Terauchi, who was the 
Japanese Supreme Commander in South-East Asia. Col. Yano, Staff 
Officer , of that Command, knew that Netaji was coming, and that 
he wished to go to Russia. He has said that Field Marshal Terauchi 
could not give any decision himself, but wished that Netaji should 
proceed to Tokyo and discuss the matter with the Government of 
Japan. So, there were a number of reasons for Netaji to go to 
Tokyo, although his ultimate goal was Russia via Manchuria. Gene- 
ral Isoda. who, as the head of the Hikari Kikan, was consulted by 
Netaji on his return to Bangkok, says that Netaji "expressed a 





but great things were attempted, and partly achieved, during this short „ 
period. Under the stress of war! the Indian Independence Move- 
ment; in South-East Asia had some- of t the qualities of an epic- Its 
full story is yet to be written. The story can be divided into several 

chapters.: The first, chapter,- the* 'spring- of-; r hope^ ended with ■ the' 

incursion into the fringes of India and the failure to take Imphal., 

: That' was in April 1944.- There was lack of air-cover, artillery and ' 
food. Then the. monsoons set in. The forward, elements of the Indian 
National. Army, along. with the Japanese Army, fell. back across the 
Chindwin in Upper Burma.. The rivers were in: flood and sick men.; 
we,re carried on the backs of their comrades. Many have, heard of 
the historic march of the Communist Fourth. Route Army . across 
.China to Yenan/ but few know the story of the heroic retreat of the 
I.N.A. across Burma. Netaji, however, was.not daunted by failure, and 
continued to work, hard at reorganising The I.N.A. Addressing a. 
public meeting at Bangkok at this time, he said, “March to Delhi still 
continues to be. our battle-cry. We may not march to Delhi via . 
Imphal, but it must be borne in mind that, like. Rome, there are many 
roads, leading to Delhi.” " , * 

3. There were changes in the Government of Japan and General 
To jo was replaced by General Koiso. In October 1944 Netaji visited 
Japan for the third and last time to meet the Members of the pew 
Government of Japan and discuss important matters with them. 
By that time there had been further reverses for the Axis powers, 
in Europe, and for the Japanese in Asia. The British forces had ad- 
vanced far into Burma, and were threatening Mandalay. The 
Americans were active in the Pacific. The chances of a Japanese 
victory seemed more 'and more remote. From the very outset, Netaji 
had declared that his battle was for the independence of India, and 
whatever happened to his Allies', Germans or Japanese, his war would 
continue till the liberation of India was achieved. From the time of 
his last visit to Japan. Netaji looked out for another vantage-point 
from which to fight the British. He saw that the only country winch 
could afford any assistance was Russia. He foresaw, and discussed 
with his Advisers, Members of his Government, and officers, that it 
would not be long before Russia fell out with the Anglo-Americans, 
and that the wartime alliance between the two was a temporary 
phase. He went even to the extent of predicting that there would be^ 
a third world-war in ten years’ time between Russia on the one hand, 
and the Anglo-Americans on the other. Netaji felt that for him it 
would be good policy to take shelter in Russia, from where he could 
come out in time to continue his war of liberation against the British. 
On his way back from Tokyo in October 1944, Netaji met at Shanghai 
Mr. An and Mohan Sahay who had long been in Japan. He asked. 
Mr. Sahay to go to Tokyo and try to establish contact with the 
Soviet Ambassador there, Mr. Jacob Malik. Mr. Sahay, who is at 


\ 


present pur CqnsuI General, in Hanoi, was examined at Saigon.; He-' 
saffi. that. hq sounded several important, personalities,’ including the’ 
Foreign.,. Minister,. Mr.. Shigemitsu, and the Home ' Minister, Mr. 
Uzawa, but they advised him .that it would- be useless . to contact the 
Soviet Ambassador. So, Mr. Sahay returned to Singapore and told 
Netaji the result of his mission. The quest, however, was not given 
up. The question of a “second front” became urgent in the middle of 
1945, after the retreat ,from Rangoon and the collapse of Germany. 
An official reference was made to the Government of Japan by 
Netaji to contact the Russian authorities on his behalf. Mr. Debnath 
Das has kindly supplied the Committee with a copy of the Japanese 
Government’s reply which was received sometime in June 1945. 
After thanking Netaji for his continuing co-operation with Japan, it 
says, “Nippon Government deems it almost without hope of success 
to get directly in touch with the Soviet Government on behalf of 
Your Excellency, and it has no intention of doing so.” Mr. Debnath 
Das has stated that about this time several alternative plans were 
considered. The first w-as to go to India and prepare for an armed 
revolution inside the country: Alternative, to go to Yenan (Com- 
munist China): And thirdly, to try and contact the Russians through 
the Jap&nese. The third alternative seemed to have found favour with 
Netaji. A direct approach to Russia seemed difficult; Manchuria, 
which was next door, and held by the Japanese forces, was increasing- 
ly considered as the best place to move to. But in case all these 
failed, Netaji advised Mr. Debnath Das to organise cells in South- 
East Asia which could be used for going underground. 

4. About the same time, the movement of the Headquarters of 
the Indian National Army, and the Indian Independence League to 
China, was also seriously considered. General Isoda, who was the 
head of the Japanese Liaison Mission (Hikari Kikan), and through 
whonj all correspondence with Japan passed, has given valuable 
information on this point. He has said that the first proposal was 
that the headquarters should be moved to Shanghai, but this did not 
materialise. There is reason to believe that the Japanese Southern 
Army Command felt that if Netaji moved out of South-East Asia, it 
would be difficult to control the I.N.A. The second alternative was 
that the Headquarters should be moved to Saigon; with branches 
at Shanghai and Peking, or some other city in North China. The 
reason for establishing a branch in North 'China was that Netaji 
would be nearer Russian territory, and be in a better position to 
contact the Soviet authorities. The Government of Japan and the 
Imperial General Headquarters were at first reluctant to accept 
this scheme, but they agreed when General Isoda explained to them 
lhaL Netaji did not intend to cut off connection with Japan, but to 
have. an alternative connection with Russia. This plan was apparent- 
ly approved by the Government of Japan in the middle of May. By 


' i 




1 



recovered. To bring out 1 the above picture, it was decided l ^ at . 
the Report should deal with the following points : 

(1) Last plans of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose 

(2) Air crash at Taihoku (Formosa), 1 . - _ 

(3) Death of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose 

■; (4) Cremation of Netaji’s body 1 ‘ t 

■- (3) Netaji’s ashes . . 

- (6) Treasure ' 

Each point is dealt with in a self-contained chapter. The c ° nc '^'* 
sions of the Chairman and the other member , who has signe 
Report are also given in each chapter. In a final chapter w> a 
suggestion has been made that Netaji’s ashes should be broug o 
India with due honour. The Report is in two parts: 

Part A — Report (with three annexures): 

Annexure I — Copies of relevant papers. 

Annexure II-i-Photographs. 

Annexure III — Sketches and plans. 

Part B — Evidence of witnesses (with photographs of some 

witnesses). - __ 

7. A large number of witnesses were examined in Japan, rac 
mg the witnesses and securing their attendance would not 
been possible without the ever-ready help and co-operation o e 
Japanese Foreign Office (Gaimusho). _ H-E. Mr. Shigemi su, 
Foreign Minister of Japan, who had held 'the same position m 
Netaji’s time, extended to the Committee every courtesy an con 
sideration. The Committee wishes to thank 'the Government of 
Japan, Mr. Shigemitsu, and' the staff of the Japanese Foreign Office, 
most sincerely for their help and kindness. The Indian Em assy, 
in Tokyo also were very helpful. In particular, the Committee 
has pleasure in recording appreciation of the services of Mr. J. e 
man who was attached to the Committee throughout their stay 
in Japan. Assistance was also received from the Indian Missions 
at Bangkok and Saigon. The Committee wishes to thank the 
Ministries of Defence, External Affairs, and the Intelligence Bureau 
of the Home Ministry for lending secret Intelligence Reports. 
Shri R. Dayal, who was attached to the Chairman of the Committee 
as P.A., worked very hard from the very beginning to the end, and 
gave satisfaction all round. And finally, the Committee wishes to 
thank, with all sincerity, the Government of India, for making 
the arrangements for the work of the Committee, at home and 
abroad, and the opportunity given to them to make a first-hand 
study of an important chapter in the history of our times. 


CHAPTER I 


LAST PLANS OF NETAJI SUBHAS CHANDRA BOSE 

“ , " r , P 

The. terms of reference of the Committee are: . 

To enquire into and to report to the Government of India on the 
circumstances concerning the departure of Netaji Subhas Chandra 
Bose from Bangkok about the 16 th August 1945, his alleged death as 
a result of an aircraft accident, and subsequent developments connect- 
ed therewith ” 

2. We have been asked to -write the last page which had up to now 
remained blank; but to do so, it is necessary to know a little of the 
background of the first and intermediate pages. Early in 1942, the 
Japanese armies overran large parts of South-East Asia, which had 
been under colonial domination by European powers, and in so doing, 
they released a great impetus to nationalism. There were three 
million Indians in South-East Asia who took a leading part in this 
movement. They formed the Indian Independence League under 
Mr. Rash Behari Bose. Singapore fell on 15th February 1942, and the 
large British Indian Army stationed there surrendered. Out of this 
was formed the first Indian National Army under General Mohan 
Singh, This Movement, however, was without a real leader of suffi- 
cient political stature. From the very start, the movement was wait- 
ing for Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, who was then in Europe, hav- 
ing escaped from detention in India in 1941. After a long and perilous 
journey by submarine, Netaji arrived in South-East Asia, and. took 
-charge of the Indian Independence Movement on the 4th of July 
1943. Soon after, he assumed supreme command of the Indian 
National Army. Addressing a review of the Indian National Army 
at Singapore on 5th July, he first uttered his famous battle-cry, 
CHALO DELHI!’ ‘DELHI CHALO!’ On the 21st October 1943, the 
Provisional Government of Azad Hind was formed. There was great 
■enthusiasm and men and money poured in. The Japanese Army had 
■overrun Burma and was poised for the invasion of India through 
Assam. Troops of the Indian National Army were sent to the front, 
and they took a gallant part in the fighting around Imphal and 
Kohrma. Netaji toured all over East Asia, and visited Japan more 
than once. Although belonging to a subject nation, and dependent 
-on Japan for keeping his army in the field, he left an indelible im- 
pression of his personality on all those who came in contact with 
him. Even today, his name is a household word in South-East Asia 
.and Japan. Between his arrival in Singapore in July 1943, and his 
^departure from Bangkok in August 1945, barely two years passed, 


2 


Delhi and Calcutta (India). A number of persons who were known 
to have been associated with Netaji in the last stages,, were request- 
ed to appear before the Committee — -in India directly, and abroad 
with the help of Indian Missions and Foreign Offices of the 
Governments of those countries. In addition, press notes were 
issuecf asking people who Had information _ to give, to make it avail- 
able to the Committee!" The:"" response' to the . press notes was 
encouraging. It may be mentioned here that throughout the period, 
of its work, a large number of news items appeared in Indian and 
Japanese papers concerning the Committee’s work. This was & 
measure of interest people continued to take in Netaji 1 Subhas 
Chandra Bose. In India the Committee examined five of the six 
persons who accompanied Netaji on his last flight from Bangkok 
including Mr. S. A. Ayer, Mr. Debnath Das and Col. Habibur 
Rehman. Col. Rehman came all the way from Pakistan to appear . 
before the Committee. The Committee also examined General J. K. 
Bhonsle, Chief of the General Staff of the I.N.A. The Commission 
examined not only those who had information to give, but those 
who had theories to propound. Everybody was given a chance. The 
first witness called by the Committee was Mr. M. Thevar, M.L.A. 
(Madras), who had made several statements that he had been in 
contact with Netaji' recently. Unfortunately, Mr. Thevar refused 
to share his secret with the members of the Committee, The 
members of the Committee left India on the 26th of April, and the 
first halt was at Bangkok. Bangkok was one of the most important 
centres of the Indian Independence Movement, and was the head- 
quarters of Netaji’s Government when he retreated fi’om Burma. 
There the witnesses examined included Sardar Ishar Singh and 
Pandit Raghunath Sharma, who were leading members of the 
Indian Independence League in Netaji’s time. Saigon was also one 
of the centres of the Movement, and Netaji’s plane took off from 
there. At Saigon the witnesses examined included Mr. Anand 
Mohan Sahay, Secretary-General to the Azad Hind Government, 
and now Indian Consul General, Hanoi. From Saigon, the members 
of the Committee flew out to have a look at Tourane on the Viet 
Nam coast, from where Netaji’s plane took off on its fateful journey 
on the morning of the 18th August 1945. 

3. The members of. the Committee reached Tokyo (Japan) on 
the 5th of May and spent a month there. They found that Netaji’s 
name was still a household word in Japan, and a great deal of 
interest was taken about him both by the public and the press. In 
addition to those witnesses who were called through the Japanese 
Foreign Office, a large number of Japanese witnesses volunteered 
and gave evidence, in response to newspaper notices. To mention 
one case, Mr. J. Nakamura, who was an Interpreter, and was pre- 
sent at Netaji’s death-bed, although 70 years of age, came on his 


own. all .the. way. from Kyushu, .about 1,200 kilometres from Tokyo. 
The members of the .Committee- were much struck by the interest 
displayed by the Japanese public in their enquiry, and - by the 
patience and courtesy ‘with -which Japanese* witnesses stood long 
examination through an interpreter.-' They came from different 
walks of life. There; were 'ex-soldiers and ex-Generals, business- 
men and truck-drivers. The Committee was fortunate in being able 
to examine four of the six J apanese survivors of the plane crash, as 
well' as two doctors who attended Netaji during his last hours. ’ 

4. - The members of the Committee were anxious to visit Formosa 
which- was -the actual scene of occurrence of the plane crash, 
Netaji’s death, and his cremation. There were difficulties in doing 
so, as there were no diplomatic relations between the Government 
of India and the authorities in Formosa. A reference was made to 
the Government of India/ who informed the Committee that they 
did not consider a visit to Formosa feasible. So the attempt had to 
be given up. 

5. After examining the witnesses, the Committee was engaged 
in -studying the evidence recorded by them, as well as obtaining 
and reading all the papers concerning the last phase of Netaji, 
much of which was in the form of secret Intelligence Reports re- 
corded immediately after the war. Books dealing with Netaji or 
the I.N.A. were also studied. Thereafter, the members of the Com- 
mittee discussed the whole matter among themselves, and a list of 
points which was agreed upon by all the three members, including 
Shri Suresh Cliandra Bose, was drawn up on the 30th June 1956. 
This paper .was signed by all the three members, a copy of which 
will be found in Anr.exure I. All the members agreed then that 
there had been an air crash at Taihoku in Formosa, in which Netaji 
met his death; that he was cremated there, and the ashes now 
lying at the Renkoji temple in Tokyo are in all probability his 
ashes. Since then, for reasons of his own, Shri Bose has taken a 
different view and has not signed the report. 

6. After going carefully through the evidence and relevant 
papers, the picture that emerged was like this: 

In the last stages when Japan’s defeat* seemed inevitable, 

, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was preparing to shift his struggle 
from South-East Asia to Russia via Manchuria. He left Bangkok on 
the 16th, and Saigon on the 17th August 1945, in an aeroplane 
bound for Manchuria. That plane crashed in flames at Taihoku in 
lormosE on the 18th August. As a result of serious burns sus- 
tained, Netaji died in a Taihoku hospital on the same night. His 
body was cremated at Taihoku. His ashes were flown to Tokyo 
eaily in September and deposited at Renkoji temple. Netaji car- 
ried some treasure with him, details of which cannot be ascertain- 
ed. A small part of this treasure was salvaged, and subsequently 





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v . ■ ‘- >»A-:. . ■;■■ •-■:'• -- ?i 1’fqr '• - , -.r?; 




INTRODUCTION 



During his' lifetime, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose had captured 
the imagination of the Indian public by his daring exploits, such as 
his escape from India to Germany, his voyage to the Far East in a 
submarine, and his fight with the British in Burma, with his Indian 
National Army. The limelight was followed by a sudden black- 
out in August 1945. The information about the last stages of his 
life came out in bits and pieces, but not as a coherent whole. 
Naturally, the public desired that all the facts should be enquired , 
into, and made known. This desire was voiced in Parliament from 
time to time. In response to this, the Prime Minister, on the 3rd 
-December 1955, announced in Parliament that an Official Committee 
would be appointed to go into the matter. Accordingly, the Gov- 
ernment of India appointed a Committee as per Notification 
No. F. 30 (26) FEA/55, dated the 5th April 1956, consisting of the 
following: 

Shri Shah Nawaz Khan, M.P. (Major General, I.N.A.), Parlia- 
mentary Secretary to the Minister for Transport and 
Railway. 

Shri Suresh Chandra Bose, elder brother of Netaii Subhas 
Chandra Bose. 

Shri S. N. Maitra, I.C.S., Chief Commissioner, Andaman 
and Nicobar Islands. 

Shri Maitra was a nominee of the Government of West Bengal. 

The terms of reference of the Committee were: 


“To enquire into and to report to the Government of India on 
the circumstances concerning the departure of Netaji Subhas 
Chandra Bose from Bangkok about the 16th August 1945, his alleg- 
ed death as a result of an aircraft accident, and subsequent develop- 
ments connected therewith 

2. The Committee began its work early in April and finished its 
labour by the end of July. The principal line followed by the 
Committee was to examine as witnesses all persons in India and Far 
East who had useful information ' on the last phase of Netaji’s 
activities. They also studied reports of secret enquiries concerning 
Netaji, conducted by Civil and Military Intelligence soon after the 
war. Over and above official documents, the members of the Com- 
mittee also studied books and articles concerning Netaji Subhas 
Chandra Bose. In all, the Committee examined 67 witnesses. A 
complete list of witnesses will be found in Annexure I. Of these, 
32 witnesses were examined at Tokyo (Japan), 4 at Bangkok 
{Thailand), and 3 at Saigon (Viet Nam), and the balance of 28 at 




Annexure 

% 

I. Copies of relevant papers 62 , 

IX. Photographs 71 






» • ,i * ' 

& W- 




CONTENTS 


Introduction 

Chapter ’ ■ , 

I. Last Plans of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose 
IT. Air Crash at Taihoku (Formosa) 

III. Death of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose 

IV. Cremation of Netaji’s Body t . 

V. Netaji’s Ashes .... 

VI. Treasure ..... 

VII. Recommendation .... 


PAGE 

I 


PRINTED IN INDIA BY THE GENERAL MANAGER 
GOVERNMENT OF INDIA PRESS NEW DELHI, 1956